As long as Greek Cypriots don’t consider Turkish Cypriots politically equals and not a minority, settlement negotiations will be doomed, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview published on Sunday by a Greek newspaper.
Speaking to the Sunday edition of Greek newspaper ‘To Vima’, Erdogan, who was in Athens earlier in the week on an official visit, said that Greek Cypriots consider Cyprus a Greek island.
This, he said, was the reason of the collapse of the 1960 Republic “in just three years”.
“I would like to be clear that, this dream of the Greek Cypriots will never become a reality,” Erdogan said.
He also said that Greek Cypriots have an issue with accepting Turkish Cypriots as equals when it comes to power share, and that the latter “will never be degraded to the status of minority” in an island they co-own.
“As long as there is no change in the mindset based on the political equality of Turkish Cypriots, settlement negotiations are doomed to remain inconclusive,” Erdogan said.
The Greek Cypriot side had put much hope on Erdogan’s visit in Athens, the first of a Turkish head of state in 65 years, which was expected to yield positive results regarding the island’s reunification process, following the collapse of the Conference on Cyprus in Switzerland last July, which Greece and Cyprus blamed on Turkey’s intransigence.
The visit however didn’t exactly go as planned as regards results, as it turned into a blunt grudge-fest between the two Nato allies.
President Nicos Anastasiades is to be briefed in detail by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras about Erdogan’s visit, on the sidelines of the European Council, to be held next week in Brussels.
Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Friday that a clear picture of Erdogan’s visit would be formed then though there would be phone communication between Anastasiades and Tsipras in the meantime. Christodoulides said that public statements made during the Tsipras-Erdogan meeting in Athens on Thursday contained elements that were worth commenting on, such as Erdogan’s effort to equate the responsibilities of Turkey with those of Greece.
During their joint statements on Thursday, the leaders of Greece and Turkey held on to their respective positions on Cyprus. Erdogan said no foreign troops would be stationed on Cyprus today had the Greek Cypriots voted for the Annan Plan in 2004. Referring to the reunification talks in Switzerland earlier this year – which ended in stalemate over disagreements on security and guarantees – Erdogan said it was the Greek Cypriots who walked out.