Friday, January 13, 2017

Cyprus talks end amid divisions over security

by Arthur Beesley

Financial Times

January 13, 2016

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on his country’s right to maintain troops in Cyprus “forever” after talks in Geneva to reunite the Mediterranean island broke up amid sharp divisions over security arrangements.

After the most intensive effort for years to resolve Cyprus’s longstanding division along ethnic lines, differences over Turkey’s presence on the island seemed more entrenched than at the start of this week’s round of negotiations, officials at the talks in Geneva said.

Mr Erdogan said that pulling out all 30,000 Turkish troops in northern Cyprus was out of the question. “We will be there forever,” Mr Erdogan said in Istanbul on Friday.

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.

A UN buffer zone divides the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state, recognised only by Ankara, from the Greek-Cypriot state, an EU member. Negotiators for the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities plan a fresh effort next week to break the logjam.


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