North Cyprus chief pushes for two-state resolution, agrees to casual summit

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Dec 2, 2020

ISTANBUL — The newly elected chief of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ersin Tatar, reiterated his stance on a two-state resolution for Cyprus Tuesday, saying federation-based peace talks had did not make progress in recent times.

“The Turkish Cypriot people are one of the two nations living on the island,” Tatar mentioned Tuesday, including they’ve “sovereignty rights from historical treaties and the chance to live in peace, tranquility and security in these lands.”

Tatar made the statements after a gathering with UN envoy Jane Holl Lute, who spoke with leaders from either side of the island Tuesday and mentioned they had been keen to take part in a casual five-party summit to discover doable resolutions.

The breakaway TRNC was established after a 1974 Turkish navy incursion and stays acknowledged solely by Ankara as sovereign state. The authorities of the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, has lengthy rejected a two-state resolution for the ethnically divided island in favor of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Yet after the collapse of the latest reunification talks in 2017 and Tatar’s election victory in October, for which he campaigned on a two-state accord with backing from Ankara, the TRNC chief mentioned Tuesday a brand new approach was wanted to resolve longstanding disagreements over sovereignty and the distribution of vitality revenues from offshore gasoline fields in Cypriot waters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has backed Tatar’s stance, repeating requires a two-state resolution throughout a November go to to the TRNC, the place he mentioned Cyprus was an island of “two separate peoples and states.”

“A two-state solution must be discussed and negotiated on the basis of sovereign equality,” Erdogan mentioned Nov. 15.

The statements have solid doubts on the resumption of reunification talks, although UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has mentioned he stays open to internet hosting a casual convention between the Cypriot governments and the island’s three guarantors, Greece, Turkey and England.

Harry Tzimitras, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Cyprus Centre, mentioned Tatar’s approach mustn’t come as a shock following the nationalist rhetoric of his electoral marketing campaign and shut cooperation with Ankara.

“Mr. Tatar is the first leader of the Turkish Cypriot community that is so clearly aligned with Turkey,” Tzimitras informed Al-Monitor. “Indeed, he openly campaigned for election as Turkey’s man.”

Tzimitras added, “Until now, all previous leaders, even the more hard-liners, informed and to a degree shaped Turkey’s Cyprus policy. Now, the reverse seems to be exceedingly the case.”

Assessing the alignment between Ankara and Tatar, Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher on the PRIO Cyprus Centre and co-founder of Geopolitical Cyprus, mentioned the Turkish authorities is looking for to strengthen the TRNC’s financial autonomy and assist its entities achieve entry to worldwide markets and set up formal diplomatic relations.

Tziarras mentioned a extra unbiased TRNC would be capable of leverage its automony to realize extra sovereign rights in future negotiations.

“Eventually, Turkey’s objective is to control the Turkish-Cypriot constituent,” Tziarras informed Al-Monitor, including that Ankara seeks to devalue “the benefits of any deals or agreements that the two constituent states might make, and thus acquire access to the eastern Mediterranean through the normalization of the status quo’s illegality.”

The developments come forward of the Dec. 10-11 European Council assembly, at which EU leaders will focus on doable sanctions towards Ankara for its gasoline exploration actions within the disputed areas of the jap Mediterranean Sea.

The end result of the summit will seemingly affect future developments in Cyprus, in response to Andromachi Sophocleous, a political analyst and advisor in Nicosia, who mentioned Turkish officers seem like ready for the council’s conclusions earlier than committing to a gathering with Lute in preparation for a five-party casual convention.

Sophocleous famous that Turkey and the European Union are additionally seemingly ready to see how the incoming US administration will approach the Cyprus subject, highlighting that President-elect Joe Biden and his secretary of state appointee Antony Blinken have each supported a federal resolution up to now.

“What has become clear is that the Cyprus problem has left the hands of Cypriots and is now part of the bigger regional and international game,” Sophocleous informed Al-Monitor.

Sophocleous added {that a} two-state resolution is “anathema” for majority residents and political leaders within the Republic of Cyprus. Though northern Cypriots usually tend to assist that stance, she mentioned nearly half of TRNC voters solid ballots in October’s elections for former North Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci, who backed a federal resolution.

“The truth is that as generations change, and the people who remember a united Cyprus are passing away, the idea of a two-state solution is becoming [stronger] in the minds of people,” Sophocleous informed Al-Monitor.

Following her conferences with Cypriot leaders Tuesday, Lute traveled to Greece Wednesday and is predicted to carry conferences with Turkish officers later this month.