Turkey will demonstrate whether it truly desires a solution to the Cyprus issue at the negotiating table, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in an interview with gr.euronews published on Monday.
“I know, from my experience of the negotiations for decades now and the knowledge I have accumulated on the subject called Cyprus, that when someone wants a solution they will show this when the core of the problem is discussed. If a party does not want a solution, that party will perhaps not allow the talks to reach that point so as not to show its true intentions. We will get there and Turkey must show its true intentions. Does it want a solution or does it want a front of legality for its illegal actions,” Kotzias commented.
The minister had been asked about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement ruling out the abolition of guarantees.
Asked to comment on the latest critical reports in the press, Kotzias noted that “it wasn’t only the Turkish side” but also other international actors “who consider it would be a good thing to have some sort of occupation on Cyprus, because their interests coincide with those those of the Turks.”
“The essence is that they are expressed through such articles,” Kotzias added, noting that it was important to “separate the facts”:
“We had an invitation to go to Geneva to hold political discussions on the Cyprus issue last Thursday and Friday. On arriving on Thursday we receive from the United Nations a document on the type of political discussions to be held on Friday. Then they suddenly came and told us that there cannot be political talks on Friday but talks on a staff level. We replied that in order for the technical teams to meet, there has to be a previous agreement of the political leadership of the foreign ministries and the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, in other words the Turkish-Cypriot leader and the president of the Cyprus Republic, on how these teams will work, on what content, with what questions and what purpose. And then, suddenly, Mr. Cavusoglu replied: ‘I hadn’t properly understood, I’ve arranged to leave’. We asked him not to leave on Friday, to stay and talk for two-three hours, on the basis of the planning we had made. He left. He went to Ankara and said that we ran away when we were still in Geneva and talking and that he had gained the summit of the Himalayas.”
Kotzias underlined that both the Greek government and himself as minister were fighting doggedly for a solution to the Cyprus issue and also for a definition of “what is a solution to the Cyprus issue, which is about to be solved.”
“We are trying to solve a political, international problem that arose through the illegal occupation of Cyprus by Turkish troops in 1974. Consequently, the solution of the Cyprus problem is for the Turkish troops to depart through a process that we have proposed and have discussed and to abolish the regime that Turkey invokes from the treaties of Zurich and London, according to which it is their opinion they have a right to illegally intervene in Cyprus whenever they see fit because they are a guarantor power,” Kotzias said.
The foreign minister noted that this issue, namely the guarantees, rights of intervention and the continued presence of the Turkish troops were “the core of the Cyprus issue”.
“It is known that the Greek government wants a solution of the Cyprus problem and, among others, this must mean the maximum rights for the Turkish Cypriots and the maximum sense of security for the Greek Cypriots. In other words, the troops must go. A lot of people don’t like this and this is why, every time there is a meeting about Cyprus, they blame me, who represents this line, which is the line of the Greek government in consultation with the Cypriots,” Kotzias said.