Turkish Cypriot leadership doubtful over reunification talks

Decades-long reunification attempts over the Cyprus issue has proved a total failure, Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, foreign minister of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Sunday.

“Greek Cypriots and the international community must accept the undeniable reality of two separate national entities, two separate states, two separate democracies, two separate peoples,” Ertuğruloğlu told the Financial Times.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the TRNC, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.

After a four-decades long reunification talks that have been failed to succeed, the United Nations announced an informal meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland on April 27-29, aimed at deciding whether there is common ground between the parties to proceed to negotiations to reunify the island.

Since Ankara-backed TRNC President Ersin Tatar won the office in October, the Turkish Cypriot administration and Turkey have begun calling for a “two-state solution” to resolve the dispute. The Republic of Cyprus, the only internationally recognised government on the island, and Greece say a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation is the only solution.

“This new road we have embarked on, is not something we have tried and tested,” Ertuğruloğlu said in regard of the two-state proposal. “It is a brand new path.”

Ertuğruloğlu said that he does not expect the Greek Cypriot administration to genuinely try to turn a new page.

“But just because they may not be interested in turning a new page does not mean that we are going to abandon where we stand and fall in line with what they do,” he said.

“The only country we have absolute confidence in, is motherland Turkey,” Ertuğruloğlu added.