CHP urges gov’t over ongoing Cypriot peace talks

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Öztürk Yılmaz has urged the government over the ongoing Cyprus reunification talks, saying it must not give concessions on key issues like Turkey’s guarantor status, territory and property. 

“Issues concerning treaties of guarantee and alliance should not be left as the last issues [to agree on]. They need to be discussed first. If you persist on [the status of] guarantor [countries] after discussing issues of territory, property, power sharing and governance, then you risk being labeled as the party that opposes a solution,” Yılmaz  told reporters at a press conference on Nov 16, calling for a general assessment on the reunification process with the participation of all political parties.

His words came as Turkish and Greek Cypriots have intensified efforts to write a blueprint to resolve the decades-old problem on the divided East Mediterranean island. Leaders of two communities held lengthy meetings in Switzerland last week and plan to launch a new round of talks next week, aiming to produce an agreement before the end of this year.  

Criticizing recent Turkish government statements, Yılmaz said using the word “concession” was unfortunate at a time when negotiations are ongoing. 

“If the process breaks down, what will remain in people’s memories are the concessions that Turkey and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] accepted,” he added. 

The Cyprus issue is one of Turkey’s “national causes,” Yılmaz said, stressing that it therefore requires an assessment with the inclusion of all political parties. 

“After all, it’s very probable that the government will call on us to share the cost if they end up hitting the wall tomorrow,” he added.

Turkey’s EU process 

Meanwhile, the CHP deputy chair also blasted the government for using tension betweenAnkara and the EU as an excuse to redesign the judiciary, the military, and the state bureaucracy according to its own views. He accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of deliberately distancing itself from Brussels in order to continue its attempt to reach one-man rule.  

“Negotiations are already frozen. You can’t even open a chapter. Deciding to [suspend the accession process] at such a period, by taking the EU’s threats seriously and responding to their provocative moves, will only damage to Turkey,” Yılmaz said.

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