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‘Cyprus talks depend on outcome of Turkey elections’

Despite failed negotiation efforts for decades, President Nikos Christodoulides said Turkey’s elections may revive talks on the Cyprus problem.

In an interview with Politico published on Saturday, the president said “everything depends on how Turkey will act following the elections.”

He outlined his observation that following the devastating earthquakes, Turkey was taking steps favouring rapprochement with the west and other countries in the region.

Christodoulides expressed the hope this would lay the foundation of enduring relations and hence allow for better diplomacy over Cyprus to be built.

He said: “the time horizon is the elections in Turkey,” set to be held on May 14, while highlighting the role for Brussels to take a more active role in negotiations.

“Why is there a change of attitude now, is it because of the elections or do they really see things differently because of internal factors? If there is a real will, we will make good use of it.”

Nonetheless, he noted Turkey’s attitude and approach to the Cyprus problem over time “is not affected by changes of government in the country. We want Turkey to have a stable government so that there is stability in the region.”

The president has touted the idea to EU leaders as well, expressing his hope that an experienced diplomat from an EU member state could be involved in the talks.

Politico highlighted that Christodoulides is considered a hardliner over reunification efforts, with parties that backed his election deemed “less flexible in the reunification talks.”

In the interview, the president also stressed the current government does not want to continue the previous government’s move to build a fence across the green line as part of an effort to stem the flow of migration.

“Building a fence is not an option for the Republic of Cyprus,” he told Politico.

“We certainly do not wish to build a fence on the ceasefire line. We are not going to take any action that would consolidate the fait accompli of the occupation.”

Nonetheless, the president told Politico the EU had fallen short over its pledges to share the burden of migration. Commenting on Cyprus’ move to back EU sanctions to Russia, Christodoulides responded noting “the orientation of our foreign policy is clear, it is European, it is Western.”

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