UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received two refusals from the Turkish Cypriot side and one ‘yes’ and one ‘no’ from Turkey to two proposals related to a joint meeting with the two leaders and the appointment of a Cyprus envoy, according to reports from New York in the early hours of Sunday.
The Cyprus News Agency reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said no to both proposals while Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said no to a joint meeting but yes to the appointment of an envoy.
Both met separately with Guterres in New York on Saturday night local time.
According to CNA’s information, Guterres pushed hard for the appointment of an envoy, and Fidan said Turkey was open to this. However, government sources told the news agency that this stance was taken by Turkey only to show that Ankara was taking a positive stance on the issue. Tatar apparently told the UNSG he would consult with Turkey and get back to the UN on Monday.
CNA also reported that during his meeting with Guterres, Fidan brought up the issue of Pyla and the UN’s “discriminatory” stance on the creation of a controversial road in the area that resulted in a clash with Unficyp personnel last month.
As for Tatar’s meeting with the UNSG, the Turkish Cypriot leader insisted on the two-state solution but the Pyla issue was not raised. Tatar did discuss the opening of a new crossing point at Mia Milia, however, reports said.
After the meeting, Tatar made statements to Turkish media correspondents in New York. He was not asked about the issue of appointing an envoy, CNA reported.
In his statements, Tatar reportedly said that if there was to be a Cyprus agreement it would have to be on the basis of cooperation between two states.
“If this is the case, we can sit down and discuss various aspects of the Cyprus issue in formal negotiations,” he said.
The independence of the ‘TRNC’ must be recognised and only under this condition could there be a Cyprus deal, Tatar said. This is what he explained to Guterres.
“That is, I told him that if such a development could be approved between two equal sides, I would be ready for a tripartite meeting, chaired by the secretary-general, where the two leaders can meet and discuss these issues. Of course, he will investigate and evaluate this himself,” Tatar said.
This policy of only negotiating under the premise of equal sovereignty and equal international status was supported by Turkey, he added.
“At the moment, he continued, the conditions are not right to raise the issue of an agreement on a two-state basis because the other side does not value that at all.”
Tatar told Guterres that until that day comes the two sides in Cyprus can discuss a working method to develop relations and establish trust between them.
The effort to find a solution on a federal basis has been exhausted, he said, and too much time has been lost, conditions have changed. He blamed the US for always “spoiling” the game, adding that the real intention was a single ‘Republic of Cyprus’, plus Russia’s stance of zero troops and zero guarantees was designed to make the Turkish Cypriots a minority.
“We are not just ‘a community’ within another country. Everyone should realise that,” he said.
According to CNA, given the developments in New York, Nicosia is now focusing on the interconnection of the Cyprus issue with EU-Turkish relations, “conveying the message that nothing can progress in EU-Turkey relations unless there is progress on the Cyprus issue”.
In the meantime, President Nikos Christodoulides is set to call a meeting of the National Council to brief the political leaders on his contacts in New York.