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Anastasiades says will not accept Turkish preconditions
Alithia, Haravgi, Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Sunday Mail
Negotiations Process, Territory
In an interview with Phileleftheros, President Nicos Anastasiades said he will not be accepting the preconditions being set by the Turkish side for the resumption of negotiations.
Regarding the announcements made earlier this week on Turkey’s and the TC side’s move to reopen part of Varosha, Anastasiades said this was the first step which will be followed by others. He said that a potential insistence on changing the status of Famagusta will undoubtedly eradicate one of the important chapters contained in the Guterres framework, the one dealing with territorial readjustments, and which he said mainly affects GC refugees. Anastasiades said the move goes against the maps exchanged, and so signals Turkey’s intentions as regards any chances of having any occupied territories returned.
Therefore, Anastasiades said, the GC side is now reacting through the necessary manoeuvres towards the UN and the EU, which he said are leading to announcements by important countries as regards Turkey’s illegal move. He said he also hopes for a powerful statement by the President of the UN Security Council (UNSC). Anastasiades said he is well aware that demarches alone cannot reverse these moves, but they can facilitate in curbing or halting any further moves which could put an end to any hope of ever solving the Cyprus problem. He said that along with territorial adjustments, there are other important issued which require resolution such as property, guarantees, occupation troops and much more.
Responding to Phileleftheros’ question, which stated the need for Turkey to suffer actual costs as a result of its actions, beyond verbal condemnations, Anastasiades said he does not disagree, but said that the problem Cyprus is facing is that both the international community and the EU are largely guided by the interests of each country. Therefore, beyond any verbal support, when the time comes for sanctions, each country would weigh the pros and cons of this to their economy and general interests.
Anastasiades said the GC side is also thinking about certain measures that could be taken in response to Turkey’s actions, such as the revocation of travel documents for current TC officials, noting that it is unthinkable that someone who does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and claims that they have their own state and works towards partition to have a passport of the Republic of Cyprus. He said that if these officials believe that this move would be illegal, they can take it up in court.
Anastasiades said however that he does not believe that chances of Turkey’s plans being curbed are non-existent, noting that “there are limits.” He said that gradually, and with the moves being made, he believes that at some point the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have to re-evaluate his policies and will be faced with sanctions, not necessarily for moves related to Cyprus.
Discussing the change in scenery after Crans-Montana, Anastasiades said the GC side has since 2018 made all necessary steps to encourage the UN Secretary General (UNSG) to call for a new round of talks from where things left off at Crans-Montana. Despite this, he said, Turkey made sure to stall negotiations so that it could go to the informal Geneva summit and pursue a two-state solution and an independent TC state, something which was always its goal, which transforms the Republic of Cyprus into a Turkish protectorate.
Asked whether there are any chances of the GC side shifting from the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF) or the provisions of negotiations held until now, in order to break the impasse, Anastasiades said that any move which accepts Ankara’s claims would be a diversion from UNSC resolutions and the UNSG’s mandate. Anastasiades said he made it clear during the European Council summit of June 24, in the presence of the UNSG, that he should not be looking for common ground, since this already exists in UNSC resolutions and his mandate. He said he reiterated this during his meeting with the UNSG.
Anastasiades said it would be easier for him to state that he would not be entering into a dialogue if his conditions are not met, that is, if resolutions are not upheld, if the status of Famagusta is not maintained, if guarantees are not terminated and if occupation troops are not withdrawn, but this he said would be setting preconditions. As such, he said, the Turkish side cannot constantly raise issues that benefit only the one side without any sensitivity for the concerns of the GC community.
Regarding Turkey’s precondition for sovereign equality before negotiations can be held, Anastasiades said he will not be accepting any preconditions in order to go to talks. He said that if the sovereignty of an illegal setup is recognised, negotiations will be doomed to fail, since the aim will be two states. He said the claims to be made will be such that they will lead to a non-functional state that will be doomed to collapse. He also said that the UNSG’s report does not include any sign of his intention to call for negotiations.
Refuting once more the rumours that it was he who first raised the possibility of moving towards a two-state solution, Anastasiades said that what happened was that he attempted to ensure that Cyprus would not end up a Turkish protectorate through the positive vote on all decisions of the central government, and therefore proposed a decentralisation of competences to grant each constituent state more autonomy and limit the issues handled by the central government. He said this would ensure that a positive vote would only be required if a proposal in the Cabinet would negatively affect the rights of the TC community, a proposal which he said is fully in line what was being discussed.
Regarding the collapse of talks at Crans-Montana, Anastasiades said that this happened due to Turkey’s insistence on maintaining guarantees and occupation troops. He said there is a point where the UNSG’s report lacks objectivity, and that is when he writes that guarantor powers were positive, since Turkey would not budge regarding these issues and Greece wanted the termination of guarantees and the withdrawal of Turkish troops.
Meanwhile, Politis published an interview with GC chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, who said that he considers the wording of the UNSC President’s announcement regarding Varosha to be strong, but the problem remains that though UNSC decisions must be followed, there is nothing to ensure enforcement and compliance. Though he could not say what could have been done by the GC side to curb Turkish plans in Varosha, he said we are judged by the result, which shows clearly that we failed.
Responding to the GC leadership’s placement of the fault for developments in Varosha on the international community, Mavroyiannis said that the GC side isn’t always rational in its handling of things and does not self-reflect in order to see how it can become more effective rather than just fatalistically proclaiming that justice will prevail. Mavroyiannis also conceded that there is an issue of credibility for the GC side in the eyes of the international community as regards the Cyprus problem. This could partially be due to the effectiveness of Turkey’s narrative and to the current situation involving interests and power relations, he said. He said the international community believes that Anastasiades abandoned the Crans-Montana talks, which he said could not be more false, but this is the situation, which requires the GC side to be more persuasive.
Mavroyiannis said that though things are incredibly difficult, there are still prospects for reunification. He said there is no reason for anyone to believe the Turkish side’s narrative that Crans-Montana proved that a BBF is no longer a viable option.
Mavroyiannis also said that he does not consider it a bad move if former Varosha residents were to return there temporarily under TC administration, given that the status of their properties and the future of Famagusta is not affected.
Phileletheros reports that the UK is attempting on the diplomatic level to persuade that for negotiations to resume, the GC side must entertain the concerns and insecurities of the TC side, particularly as regards political equality and other matters. The UK believes that the GC side must give assurances in writing, the paper reports, with one way of going about it is to see the two leaders exchange letters. The attempt is to see both sides commit to certain things in advance, which would allow difficulties to be surpassed.
Phileleftheros also reports citing information that the UK believes that if the GC side reacts strongly to Turkey’s moves in Varosha, then tension will rise, which is effectively what Erdogan wants. The paper writes that Nicosia is not happy with the UK’s approach.
Kathimerini reports citing information that Turkey’s fundamental goal is the ‘turkification’ of Varosha, through the purchase of as many GC properties there as possible, while also allowing a symbolic number of GCs to return to prove that developments are in line with UNSC decisions and international law.
Haravgi reports that in a written statement, AKEL spokesperson Giorgos Koukoumas said the task is to see the UNSC insist that its decisions on Varosha are enforced and to demand that the TC side complies. Koukoumas said that only reunification can ensure a future of peace and security for the next generations.
Sunday Mail reports that Varosha refugees are saying that instead of the government stopping just short of declaring those who choose to claim their properties from Turkey as traitors, it ought to provide more substantive support to them.
>> Will not be accepting the preconditions being set by the Turkish side for the resumption of negotiations
>> Steps in Varosha will be followed by others
>> Varosha developments will eradicate chapter dealing with territorial readjustments
>> Varosha developments go against exchanged maps, signalling Turkey’s intentions as regards the chances of having any occupied territories returned
>> There is still hope for resolving Cyprus problem since many other issues remain unsolved
>> Believes Turkey must suffer actual costs for its actions but sanctions are hindered by the interests of other countries
>> GC side considering revoking the passports of certain TC officials
>> There are limits to what Turkey can do; at some point Erdogan will have to re-evaluate his policies and will be faced with sanctions, not necessarily for moves related to Cyprus
>> A two-state solution and an independent TC state were always Turkey’s goal, which transforms the Republic of Cyprus into a Turkish protectorate
>> Any move which accepts Ankara’s claims would be a diversion from UNSC resolutions and the UNSG’s mandate
>> UNSG should not be seeking common ground since this exists in UNSC resolutions and his mandate
>> Turkish side constantly raising issues that benefit only the one side without any sensitivity for the concerns of the GC community
>> If the sovereignty of an illegal setup is recognised, negotiations will be doomed to fail, since the aim will be two states
>> Crans-Montana talks collapsed due to Turkey’s insistence on maintaining guarantees and occupation troops
>> Wording of the UNSC President’s announcement regarding Varosha is strong, but the problem remains that though UNSC decisions must be followed, there is nothing to ensure enforcement and compliance
>> Cannot say what GC side should have done to curb Turkish moves in Varosha, but the result shows that the GC side ultimately failed
>> GC side isn’t always rational in its handling of things and does not self-reflect in order to see how it can become more effective rather than just fatalistically proclaiming that justice will prevail
>> There is an issue of credibility for the GC side in the eyes of the international community as regards the Cyprus problem; GC side must become more persuasive
>> Though things are incredibly difficult, there are still prospects for reunification
>> Does not consider it a bad move if former Varosha residents were to return there temporarily under TC administration, given that the status of their properties and the future of Famagusta is not affected
>> The task is to see the UNSC insist that its decisions on Varosha are enforced and to demand that the TC side complies
>> Only reunification can ensure a future of peace and security for the next generations