Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar rubbished reports that Turkey is set to return to the negotiating table to resume Cyprus problem talks on Friday.
Tatar said “it is impossible to establish negotiations in the near future”.
He added that “when South Cyprus is a recognised state, I don’t want to go to the negotiation table as a ‘community’”. He added that Cyprus’s two sides’ sovereign equality would have to be recognised for him to agree to return to negotiations.
Tatar said Turkey supports his two-state solution policy and that the country will “always protect the Turkish Cypriot people”.
His comments came after reports surfaced that sources close to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) believe that moves are being made to break the current deadlock on the Cyprus problem, with all sides set to take measures for talks to resume.
The sources say that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has made contacts with “high level” Turkish officials with the aim of announcing a special envoy for the Cyprus issue in September. In addition, a “high ranking UN official” is apparently expected to visit Cyprus as soon as this month.
The event is reportedly planned to take place after the UN’s General Assembly in New York, where Guterres is expected to hold a trilateral meeting with President Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.
Asked about this report later in the day, Christodoulides said “at this stage I can speak about my readiness to participate in such a meeting”.
He added that “messages are being conveyed from the Turkish side about the need to mobilise on the Cyprus issue.”
But that “we will see all this in practice through the effective resumption of talks.”
The sources say that the Cyprus problem was discussed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Vilnius earlier this week.
They say Erdogan is interested in making progress on talks with the EU on economic matters, but that EU leaders told him those talks will be linked to progress on the Cyprus problem.
Most EU leaders who were in Vilnius this week have informed Christodoulides about their meetings with Erdogan, while some will inform him on Saturday, the president told reporters.
“Our initiative, our efforts for the resumption of the talks have led to the mobilisation of the international community, the messages have been conveyed to Mr Erdogan. I also note the fact that Turkey is interested in reactivating its European perspective, which is also reflected in the developments on the Cyprus issue,” he added.
Following this, it is believed that Erdogan seems to be “leaving the door open” for the resumption of Cyprus talks, though this seems to conflict with Erdogan’s latest public statements on the matter.
During his visit to Cyprus last month, he said negotiations could only resume if Christodoulides’ government “says yes to protecting the sovereign equality rights of the TRNC”, while also accusing the EU of being dishonest.
The sources pointed to the UN Security Council’s recent press statement on the Cyprus issue as evidence that moves were being made behind the scenes, highlighting the fact that the statement specifically called for a federal solution and the appointment of an envoy.
The statement spoke of the “goal of returning to formal negotiations to achieve a comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality”.
Commenting on this, Christodoulides said “the fact that there was this clear position from the Security Council on both the resumption of talks and the appointment of an envoy and the form of a solution to the Cyprus problem sends messages in all directions.
“Within this framework, we will continue our efforts,” he noted.
The statement in question did provoke the ire of both the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leadership, with the Turkish foreign ministry describing it as “detached from reality”, and Ersin Tatar also condemning it in a statement of his own.