Turkey urges alternative ways for Cyprus peace deal

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Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said reunifying Cyprus as a federation may not be possible with the current approach of Greek Cypriots and suggested that alternatives should be sought to resolve the island nation’s decades-long ethnic division.

“As long as Greek Cypriots do not change their mindset, we are not planning to play the same game,” the spokesperson said on May 3, citing the collapse of numerous rounds of peace talks, including the most recent one nearly a year ago.

Turkey believes “a new way should be tried” in achieving a peace deal, Aksoy said, but he did not elaborate on what the alternatives could be.

“There is a negotiation process that has continued for 50 years. However, it has become a vicious cycle and no outcome has been achieved,” he said.

“We have always tried to be constructive during this process, always tried to be one step ahead; but, we have not reached an outcome due to the Greek Cypriot side’s obvious mentality,” Aksoy added, hinting that the recent proposal made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı to accept the Guterres Framework is ineffective.

On April 30, Akıncı called on to his Greek Cypriot counterpart  Anastasiades‘>Nicos Anastasiades to announce soon if it will be ready to accept the Guterres Framework submitted by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres without “distorting it” with its own interpretations. Anastasiades, for his part, proposed the negotiated Guterres Framework.

“If the Greek Cypriot side is ready to accept the Guterres Framework as it is, without any alterations, it should say so without delay. In that case, we can announce it as a strategic package agreement,” said Akıncı. His remarks came after a meeting with Foreign Ministers Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on April 20.

“I could not remain silent at a time while rapidly being moved to a period of stagnation and tension and that possibility of permanent division becomes even greater. I want to remind you once again that this effort is an attempt to fulfill a historical responsibility,” Akıncı said on May 3 in response to some criticism from the Turkish Cypriot side.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power. The U.N. has sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe’s relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict.

The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in July 2017 after two years of negotiations.

Temporary envoy appointed

Meanwhile, Jane Holl Lute has been appointed by Guterres as a temporary envoy to feel out prospects for the resumption of Cyprus talks, sources within the U.N. said on May 2. Lute was appointed by the U.N. as Special Coordinator on Improving the U.N. Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in February 2016. The last special adviser to Guterres was Norwegian diplomat Espen Barth Eide.

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