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We will not bend to any threats, Pelekanos says as Cavusoglu reaffirms Turkey’s support for two-state solution (Updated)

ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΣ ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΑΔΗΣ ΥΠ.ΕΞΩΤΕΡΙΚΩΝ ΤΟΥΡΚΙΑΣ
President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavucoglu at Crans Montana

We will continue our efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue without bending to any threats or challenges, and always according to international law, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said on Monday.

He was responding to statements made earlier in the day by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in which he reaffirmed Turkey’s support for a two-state solution.

Cavusoglu had been speaking to representatives from 22 non-governmental organisations in Lapithos as part of a three-day visit to the north, where he also held meetings with Turkish Cypriot officials, including leader Ersin Tatar.

Describing his meeting with Tatar as constructive, Cavusoglu told Turkish media that sovereign equality must be guaranteed before negotiations on the Cyprus issue can resume.

“Negotiations are possible between equals, otherwise they do not make sense,” he said. “We have experienced this for 54 years. We do not have another 50 years to waste.”

Referring to the joint efforts between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to promote a two-state solution, he called on the EU, which in his view favours the Greek Cypriot side, “to acknowledge the will of Turkish Cypriots”.

In Lapithos, Cavusoglu expressed solidarity towards Turkish Cypriots, saying that the Turkish Republic and the Turkish people never abandoned them. “Therefore we will overcome everything together. The important thing is to dismantle the plans that have been set up in Cyprus”.

With regards to the government’s proposal for Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), the Turkish foreign minister said they are just an attempt on behalf of the Greek Cypriot side to mislead the international community by repackaging old ideas.

According to him, the Greek Cypriot side only introduced CBMs as a reaction to developments in Varosha, saying that the goal is “to get Varosha back”.

For his part, Tatar said his administration is planning a series of its own proposals in response to the CBMs “that will benefit both peoples”.

On Varosha, he said more works are planned, claiming that it has now been turns into an international destination with over 500,000 visitors.

“Let me repeat that Varosha is part of ‘TRNC’ territory, and that the measures taken in the area’s reopening do not violate international law and are for the benefit of the peoples of the island,” Cavusoglu said.

He added he thought it was laughable that “Greek Cypriots think placing sunbeds on a beach is a threat to international security,” saying however that to him it made more sense that some people wanted to use their property in Varosha.

The Turkish foreign minister said that “we have been negotiating for a federation for years, but as you know, the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share anything with you, so they rejected all the plans, the Annan plan, all the models, all the studies that emerged on the federation.

“They flipped the tables in Crans Montana, and I was there”.

Cavusoglu said Turkey was very clear that Crans Montana would be the last time they negotiated for a federation. From then on, they have been after sovereign equality, not political equality.

“And here is where a two-state solution comes in. Two states that will live side by side could cooperate with each other in every way.

“If the Greek Cypriot side is sincere in seeing Turkish Cypriots as equals, it will recognise their political sovereignty and we will cooperate,” he added.

In response, Pelekanos said that the Greek Cypriot side will “continue to call attention to the provocative actions and attitude of the [Turkish Cypriot leadership] but also their unacceptable demands for the recognition of equal sovereign rights.

“From our side, without bending to any threats or challenges, we will continue in our efforts towards a solution while highlighting everything the international law provides,” he said.

“We can see that the majority of our compatriots, the Turkish Cypriots, is reacting to Ankara’s shortsighted effort to take complete control of our occupied territory”.

The spokesman reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side will continue its efforts to lift the impasse on Cyprus issue negotiations and return to a path towards a solution “based on the provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions, the high-level agreements and the convergences achieved so far and the European acquis”.

A solution, he said, “that will benefit all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and will make Cyprus a modern European state, without foreign troops and anachronistic guarantees from third parties”.

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