Cyprus Negotiations

Erdogan: Return of Morphou/Güzelyurt

not on the Table

Erdogan_2Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the Turkish Cypriot leadership to stand firm in the ongoing peace talks in Cyprus, citing the proposed 2004 settlement known as the Annan plan, Turkish daily Milliyet reported on Wednesday.

Quoting unnamed sources, the paper said Erdogan told North Cyprus´Speaker of Parliament Sibel Siber to “stand upright on Cyprus, take no steps back”.

According to Milliyet, the Turkish president’s advice was that the Turkish Cypriot leadership should not deviate from the provisions of the Annan plan, which was favoured by a majority of Turkish Cypriots but broadly rejected by the Greek Cypriots in separate simultaneous referenda in 2004.

But for all his insistence on the 2004 plan’s provisions, with regard to occupied Morphou, a village north of capital Nicosia, which the Annan plan ceded to the Greek Cypriot constituent state after territorial reconfiguration, Erdogan now stood against its return.

Morphou-Güzelyurt“Because the Annan plan was not accepted, [a return of Morphou/Güzelyurt] is not on the table,” Erdogan was quoted as saying, citing the fact that it is one of the most fertile areas on the island.

According to the paper, Erdogan also weighed in on the issue of 10,000 Turks requesting to be granted the nationality of the breakaway regime.

“Why won’t you nationalise them? You need to move on this issue,” the Turkish president reportedly said.

“Turkey has accepted 2.5 million Syrians, why don’t you make them citizens? Why are you afraid of citizens?”………….

The report drew criticism from the Greek Cypriot side, with government sources claiming the Turkish Cypriot leadership never tabled the issue of Morphou/Güzelyurt in the talks.

Unnamed sources from the north, cited by news portal Reporter, said the Milliyet article “should not be taken into account”.

Greek Cypriot parties – including ruling DISY and opposition AKEL, the island’s two largest and the only ones backing the talks – flatly rejected the notion that the town might remain under Turkish-Cypriot administration post-solution.

“I don’t believe that President Nicos Anastasiades would accept a deal that does not include the return of Morphou under Greek Cypriot administration, and nor will DISY,” the party’s leader Averof Neophytou said bluntly.

Cyprus dispute“If Turkey’s demands are as presented by Milliyet, quite simply the Cyprus problem will not be solved,” AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou echoed.

Smaller, hard-line parties focused on Erdogan’s reported insistence on reviving the Annan plan.

“Let us open our eyes and ears and realise that Turkey’s timeless goal has been to recapture Cyprus via a bizonal solution that the Cyprus people rejected in 2004,” socialists EDEK, who oppose bizonality and bicommunality, said.

When asked about Erdogan’s comment, UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide told CyBC in an interview to be aired on Thursday night: “My strong sense is that the neighbouring states, the guarantor powers, in this case Turkey and Greece are actively abstaining from taking positions  on what are the domestic issues, leaving  that to the Cypriots leaders. I’m frequently in contact with both Athens and Ankara, and no such issue has been raised with me that they are taking a position on this issue. They are quite on the contrary, very much trying to encourage a speedy solution”.

Source: Cyprus Mail