Turkey: UN report misreads failed Cyprus talks


Turkey said on Wednesday that a new UN report on the Cyprus issue does not reflect the truth behind the recent failed negotiations and is "far" from meeting Turkey's expectations.

The claim in UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' report -- covering developments from May 2015 to this August -- that the sides on the island came "close to reaching a strategic understanding" was "difficult to understand," said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

"In fact the Greek Cypriot side did not depart from its unrealistic approach that can be summarized as 'zero soldiers, zero guarantee' throughout the process leading to the Cyprus Conference and the Crans-Montana meetings dealing with Security and Guarantees," said the statement, referring to meetings in Switzerland that ended unsuccessfully in July.

At the meeting, Greek Cypriot negotiators reportedly rejected the presence of Turkish troops on the island -- troops deployed there to protect Turkish Cypriots from ethnic violence -- and also rejected Turkey's role under treaty as a guarantor country for Cyprus.

"The Greek Cypriot side did not display the necessary political will at negotiations, and maintained this stance during the Cyprus Conference. Finally, all sides have witnessed the Greek Cypriots' uncompromising approach at the Crans-Montana meetings," said the statement.

Negotiations over Cyprus resumed after a 2004 UN-backed Annan plan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities was accepted by Turkish Cypriot voters in a referendum, but rejected by Greek Cypriots.

New reunification talks -- brokered by Special UN Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide -- were launched in May 2015 to discuss a permanent settlement for the divided Mediterranean island.

Saying that Turkey sincerely supports a sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue, the ministry added that a solution would not only strengthen stability in the Eastern Mediterranean but also provide multi-dimensional benefits to relevant parties.

"We urge relevant parties to fulfill their responsibilities in a realistic and constructive matter. We also welcome the UN secretary-general's willingness to present their services, regardless of developments in the reconciliation process in the upcoming period," said the statement.

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