Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar is “running away from the fight” for Turkish Cypriots’ rights, opposition party CTP leader Tufan Erhurman said on Monday.

“The Turkish Cypriot side, which has demonstrated its will for a solution in the past, has now come to a place where it refuses to even have tripartite talks,” he said, speaking in ‘parliament’ after the end of Tatar’s brief final meeting with United Nations envoy Maria Angela Holguin.

“The rejection of dialogue resulted in the conclusion that the Turkish Cypriot people had a will for a solution but now do not even have the will for a dialogue. This is not the case for the Turkish Cypriot people. The distance between the Turkish Cypriot people and Ersin Tatar is widening.

He said that no matter what the differences are in people’s political views, the Turkish Cypriots “do not deserve to be put in the position of being the side that avoids even dialogue.”

He said therefore that there is “no plausible explanation” for Tatar avoiding a tripartite meeting, adding, “we aspire for equal international status, but what sort of result do we think we are going to achieve by avoiding explaining our own position?

Earlier, ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu had told ‘parliament’ that Tatar’s rejection of talks as outlined by the UN had been done with the aim of avoiding wasting more time.

“I will try to say what I have been patiently saying for years. Why do you still want us to waste more time? [Rauf] Denktash wasted his life … Holguin’s duty is to see if there is common ground, nothing more,” he said.

“Equality between the two sides would supposedly be revealed in a tripartite meeting, they will say. Do us a favour, what equality? We experienced this equality in 60 years of UN negotiations. If there was real equality, we would have reached an agreement in those 60 years,” he said.

He also criticised the United Kingdom for its stance on the Cyprus problem, saying it is the main “owner” of Holguin’s policy to ask for a tripartite meeting.

Why are the British insisting so much?” he asked, adding that “games are being played to wear down our upstanding policies.”

He also said the UN “stole 60 years of our time” and that the Greek Cypriot side “has no intention of establishing a federal state”.

He added that the Turkish Cypriot side “cannot take risks by relying on the UN, the European Union, or others”.

“Are we going to trust the EU? The Turkish Cypriots have no demand to join the EU as long as Turkey is not a member. Nothing can be achieved by dreaming,” he said.

Later on Monday, Holguin also met with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who served between 2015 and 2020 and was in post during the Crans-Montana negotiations.

Akinci said Holguin “is showing determination to work without losing hope, despite the difficulties”, and wished her success.