Time of concessions over in Cyprus, Erdo?an says

TODAYSZAMAN

Turkey is no longer prepared to accept the concessions it has agreed to in order to help with the reunification of Cyprus in line with a UN plan back in 2004 and the Turkish side will accept nothing short of recognition of a two-state solution on the island, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has said.
Erdo?an, speaking to a group of Turkish Cypriot journalists ahead of a Tuesday trip to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), said 2012 was a final deadline for a settlement on the island. “We will see if this is resolved by 2012 or not. If it is not, we will have to find solutions ourselves,” Erdo?an was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Tuesday. The news conference took place on Monday.
The Turkish side has long warned that talks to reunite Cyprus will not continue forever and that Ankara might seek international recognition for the KKTC — currently recognized only by Turkey — if reunification efforts fail. Erdo?an said there were “different alternatives” concerning recognition of the KKTC. “There are alternatives that we will discuss with our Turkish Cypriot brothers. I mean, this process [of reunification] shall stop if necessary. What are we supposed to do if it is not working?” the Turkish prime minister asked.
Turkey backed the UN plan, named after former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to reunite the island. The plan, however, failed because it was rejected by Greek Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, approved the plan in a simultaneous referendum.

Erdo?an said the Greek Cypriot side was still expecting the Turkish side to agree to even broader concessions than the ones in the Annan plan, but made it clear that the circumstances have changed. “The Annan plan conditions have changed. We will be coming to [the negotiating] table differently. They [the Greek Cypriots] are still thinking of what more they get can get besides [concessions stipulated in] the Annan plan. Well, excuse us, but the time [of concessions] has passed,” said Erdo?an.

The prime minister said Turkey no longer agrees to the return of Güzelyurt (Morphou) and Karpas (Karpaz) to the Greek Cypriots, as envisioned in the Annan plan. “Güzelyurt entirely belongs to Turkish Cyprus. As for Karpaz, the slightest change in its status is unacceptable,” Erdo?an told Turkish Cypriot journalists, although he said the Greek Cypriots would be welcome to visit holy areas in Karpaz.

Responding to the question on Mara? (Varosha), which has been fenced off since the Turkish military intervention in the island in 1974, Erdo?an also signaled that there would be no change in the Turkish position as long as the Greek Cypriots maintain “bad faith.” Varosha has been closed to anyone except the Turkish military and UN personnel, deployed on the island on a peace-keeping mission. The Annan plan had provided for the return of Varosha to Greek Cypriot control.

“If the Greek Cypriots are still hoping that they will have the [Turkish-run] northern Cyprus, they will wait in vain to see this happen. They will wait in vain as long as Turkey remains a guarantor state,” he added.

Erdo?an dismissed once again withdrawing troops from the island. “We had agreed to withdraw troops under the Annan plan. They [the Greek Cypriots] did not accept it. So, they lost [their chance].”

“We speak clearly and firmly. A bi-zonal structure of two states with equal status must be accepted. Whether or not to accept it is up to them,” said Erdo?an.

‘EU relations to freeze under Greek Cypriot presidency’

The prime minister also reiterated that Turkish-European Union relations will be suspended if Greek Cyprus, an EU member since 2004, takes over the 27-nation bloc’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2012 without a settlement on the island. “We will never have dialogue with them [Greek Cyprus] during their presidency. Relations with the EU will freeze, meaning there will be no Turkey-EU relations for that six-month period,” he said.

On Tuesday, when asked to elaborate on the comments he made before departing for the KKTC, Erdo?an said Turkey will not sit down and talk to Greek Cyprus, which it does not recognize. “The EU has not acted with honesty,” he said, criticizing the bloc for accepting Greek Cyprus as a full member in 2004 despite the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan plan.

“If Greek Cyprus is granted term presidency, we will not recognize it or sit down and negotiate with it,” said Erdo?an at Ankara’s Esenbo?a Airport.

To Turkish Cypriots: Have at least four children

The prime minister also appealed to Turkish Cypriot families to help increase the Turkish Cypriot population of the island. The daily Milliyet, whose reporter in the KKTC was among the group of journalists that met with Erdo?an, reported that the prime minister asked journalists about how many children they had. When a female journalist revealed that she had been married for seven years but had no child, Erdo?an said: “You don’t have babies and you also oppose us sending people [from Turkey to the KKTC]. If you don’t want us to send people, you need to have babies.”

Erdo?an, who has repeatedly called on Turkish families to have at least three children, argued that Turkish Cypriot families must have at least four children.


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