Cyprus Mail, a Greek Cypriot newspaper, blamed Greek Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades for the failure of an international conference for the reunification of the island, citing anonymous United Nations officials who said the Greek Cypriot president had insisted on “zero troops, zero guarantees,” despite the fact that the Turkish side announced its readiness to withdraw a large majority of troops and give up its intervention rights.
The Cyprus Mail reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had conceded in private to the U.N. that Ankara would be prepared to accept an end to guarantees and rights of intervention, basing its story on the information provided by a U.N. official.
It also stressed that Turkey agreed with the U.N. secretary general’s plan to reduce the number of Greek and Turkish troops to 950 and 650 respectively, with further steps to be taken by the prime ministers of three guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
“When we signaled this to Anastasiades, he started insisting on zero troops,” the U.N. official told the Cyprus Mail. “He simply didn’t want it.”
Another diplomatic source shared a similar account in which Çavuşoğlu went out on a limb but soon reverted to Turkey’s publicly stated positions after Anastasiades demanded that he commit to the offered concessions formally.
“It was so close – it could have happened if Anastasiades had been willing to engage,” the well-informed source said. “Turkey was willing to give hugely on intervention rights, and there was a possibility on the guarantees, maybe [after] a couple of years, with even the possibility of getting rid of it from Day One. There would also have been less troops. [But] Anastasiades wanted it in writing.”
Turkey’s B and C plans for Cyprus
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed Ankara’s sadness at the failure of the conference.
“Turkey’s genuine and moderate stance, as well as its devoted efforts, have not received the adequate response. Frankly speaking, we are saddened by this result. The picture we have after long-standing efforts display the fact finding a solution to the Cyprus problem under the U.N.’s goodwill mission parameters is impossible. There is no meaning in insisting on these parameters,” he said.
Turkey will continue to try find a solution to the problem but on “different parameters,” Erdoğan also said.
“We are expecting the same position from all related parties. If not, Plan B, Plan C and other options are going to be considered. We’ll sure make necessary assessments on all these and we’ll share them with the public and our counterparts,” he added.