Cyprus talks aimed at reunification ‘doomed to fail,’ says TRNC’s Tatar

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will continue to push for a two-state solution at the U.N. next month and any efforts towards a reunification on the ethnically divided island are bound to fail, TRNC leader Ersin Tatar told the Financial Times on Monday.

The Ankara-backed leader of the breakaway north Cyprus called for a “reality check” after half a century of failed efforts to reunite the island, which has been divided since 1974.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkey intervened after a brief Greek Cypriot coup orchestrated by the military junta then ruling Greece. Turkey justified its intervention by citing its rights to protect Turkish Cypriots, but the island has remained divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and the TRNC, which is only recognised as a state by Turkey.

Numerous diplomatic efforts to reunify the Mediterranean island have failed, most notably in April 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. reunification plan in a referendum despite Turkish Cypriot support.

“It is time for the world to recognise the reality that we have two different states, [and] any effort to push us into a mixed marriage is doomed to fail,” Tatar told the Financial Times. 

“They are Greeks, they are Christians. We are a different race. We speak Turkish, our religion is Islam, our motherland is Turkey,’’ Tatar said, referring to Greek Cypriot population.

Since Turkish-backed Tatar’s election last year, the TRNC has taken an increased unyielding stance on possible reunification.

The latest round of diplomatic contacts between the leaders of the TRNC and the Republic of Cyprus took place in Geneva, Switzerland in April. The negotiations broke down after the Turkish side called for talks to take place based on the existence of two independent states on the island.

Turkish and Greek Cyprus, which have been segregated along ethnic lines since the mid-1960s, are now too estranged to reunify and future negotiations require recognition of his side as “equal and sovereign”, Tatar said.

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