Negotiations in Crans-Montana are for tough guys with a good stomach. On the seventh day of talks about the future of the divided island, Ankara reiterated that that Turkish troops will remain in the occupied north in any Cyprus peace deal.
Turkey toughened its stance and insisted it won’t sign up to any deal involving the withdrawal of all its 35,000 troops from the occupied Cyprus.
Turkish Foreign Minisater Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated that zero troops and no guarantees are not an option for Turkey and Turkish Cypriots, and that Turkish troops will remain in Cyprus because the Turkish Cypriots want them there. Instead of blaming them for security concerns, let us look at why Turkish Cypriots have such concerns in the first place, he added.
Cavusoglu full statement to reporters:
From the first day, we shared our positions and our concrete proposals, not philosophical ones, that meet the expectations of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. We showed our goodwill and constructive attitude.
We know what we want. We have announced our ‘red line’. A decision on the final solution must be taken this week. We show flexibility. However, we did not see reciprocity. There may be other reasons for this. There are still leaks. In order to reach a solution, the other side must reciprocate our positive steps
Our document is within the framework defined by the Secretary-General. We have been clear in our positions.
Zero troops and zero guarantees is a non-starter for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. Security concerns for both sides are important but I am responsible to meet the security concerns of the Turkish Cypriots and they have been clear they have even more concerns.
Instead of accusing them, try to understand why they have these concerns. There will be no sunset clause; this cannot be even a dream for us. If there is anybody dreaming this they should wake up
We can adapt security and guarantees but troops will be staying on the island because this is the wish of the Turkish Cypriots.
Cavusoglu has previously stated Turkey’s opposition to a full troop withdrawal as part of a deal to unify the island as a federation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. But Tuesday’s remarks appeared ‘unequivocal,’ leaving no negotiating room for Greek Cypriots who have been pushing for a full troop pull-out in order to remove what they see as a vestige of control from Ankara.
Associated Press noted it was unclear how Cavusoglu’s remarks will impact upon discussions between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. In addition, Turkey, along with Cyprus’ two other “guarantors — Greece and former colonial ruler Britain — are deeply involved in the negotiations, especially on the pivotal issue of the island’s future security.
However, without specifying, Cavusoglu indicated that there was room to change the security regime that operated before the 1974 invasion. He said the military intervention rights and security guarantees accorded to Cyprus’ “guarantors” could be adapted for the current day.
But he repeated that complete abolition of those intervention rights and security guarantees is a “non-starter” for both Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriots.
The Greek Cypriots have proposed an international police force, backed by the U.N. Security Council, to keep the peace once the island is reunified.
The talks, which started June 28, are due to run until the end of the week.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci hinted that UN General Secretary might need to return to Switzerland.