President Eroglu has expressed some cynicism over the successful outcome of the Cyprus negotiations.
In an interview with Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’, he said that it would take several meetings between the negotiators to see if the there was any cause for optimism.
However, Eroglu said he was confident that whatever he agreed to, would receive the support of the Turkish Cypriot electorate.
He said that he had wanted to have a deal brokered by March or April, but given the time it took to gain an agreement on a joint statement, he doubted that this would be achievable, saying that:
“We could have finished the job [the negotiations] this way or the other within three months. Now that we have been praised so much by American President Barrack Obama, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others, they will not let us [say we have failed] … I am sure we will be forced to stay in the process.”
Asked why American involvement was so pivotal, Eroglu, pointed to vital US interests in the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East. He added that:
“The Americans are not here for either my or the Greek’s black eyebrows and eyes [a Turkish proverb, meaning affection]. Large states have interests and their interests always come before the interests of smaller states. It is unfortunate, but true. A settlement in Cyprus will have results bigger than Cyprus itself…”
Hydrocarbon finds offshore Cyprus and the political situation in the entire region have been elements dictating an end to the more than half-century-old Cyprus problem. In a lighter mood, Eroglu said the interests of the big powers will make it difficult to say “We failed.” Yet, he said he completely agreed with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that the Cyprus problem ought to be resolved “this way or the other.” Asked what “the other” or Plan B might actually mean, Eroglu refused to be drawn on the issue, only saying nothing lasts forever and the Cyprus talks should come to an end as well.
Asked if he would ever back down from his principles as regards a settlement he said emphatically, “no way.” He was sure that the Turkish Cypriots would vote “yes” to a settlement agreement. But added that he would never concede to any plan that did not include the fundamental demands expected by the people.
“Whatever text I agree on, my people will accept it. I am acting with awareness and responsibility on this,” he said.