‘I don’t trust Greek Cypriots’: Erdogan weighs in on failed Cyprus talks

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday criticized the attitude of Greek Cypriots regarding the Cyprus issue, saying that “they have never been honest” in their stance.

The United Nations has been trying to negotiate a deal ending a decades-long dispute over the divided Mediterranean island, but the first talks since 2017 broke up in Geneva on Thursday without making progress.

“I don’t trust or believe Greek Cypriots. They have never acted honestly,” the Turkish leader said referring to the the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus 

“Now the talks have been pushed back two or three months and I again, don’t know that anything will be achieved, because they never spoke truthfully,” he added.

READ MORE: Greek Cypriots swiftly reject proposed ‘two-state solution’ at UN talks
READ MORE: UN chief ‘realistic’ at start of fresh bid to resolve Cyprus stalemate

The informal 5+1 talks – including both sides on the island, plus the guarantor states of Turkey, Greece, and the UK plus the UN – were meant to break the stalemate on the island and pave the way for future talks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, the last day of the talks, that there is “no common ground yet” to resume formal negotiations on resolving the decades-old Cyprus problem.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference after a 5+1 Meeting on Cyprus at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland April 29, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Guterres summarized the two sides’ positions: The Turkish Cypriots believe that decades of efforts to ensure a “bi-zonal, bicommunal federation” have been exhausted and they now deserve “equal international status” like that enjoyed by the Nicosia government run by Greek Cypriots in the south.

The Greek Cypriots held to their position for a federation “with political equality on the basis of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Guterres said.

The two sides have differing views on how to resolve the issue.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference after a 5+1 Meeting on Cyprus at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland April 29, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

“There is not one single chance of Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side succeeding in this. This was something that was pointed out by the (United Nations) secretary-general,” Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades told reporters in Geneva.

The informal 5+1 talks – including both sides on the island, plus the guarantor states of Turkey, Greece, and the UK plus the UN – were meant to break the stalemate on the island and pave the way for future talks.

Guterres said on Thursday, the last day of the talks, that there is “no common ground yet” to resume formal negotiations on resolving the decades-old Cyprus problem.

Following the three days of informal talks, Guterres added that he will convene another round of 5+1 talks to move the process forward.

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