Turkey has set three conditions regarding security, land trade-offs and a rotating presidency to achieve a solution on Cyprus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, the day after a five-party conference on Cyprus ended without agreement but with a schedule for officials to reconvene on 18th January to tackle the thorny question of security.
According to Erdogan, the Turkish Cypriots “are working intensely and bringing sincerity” to the table, but the Greek Cypriots and Athens “still have different expectations.”
Regarding security, Erdogan reiterated that the Greeks should not expect a guarantee without Turkish troops. He added that complete withdrawal for troops was out was “out of the question.”
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, on the other hand, said on Friday that any deal to reunify Cyprus must include the withdrawal of the 30,000 Turkish troops from the island.
President Erdogan countered that Turkey and Greece could keep the previously agreed similar number of soldiers on the island, that is, 950 Greek troops to 650 Turkish troops.
Commenting on demands that all Turkish troops be withdrawn from the island, Erdogan said, “If such a thing is being thought of, then both of the sides need to pull all of their soldiers from there.”
Stating that the Geneva peace talks were a new negotiation process separate from the 2004 Annan Plan, Erdogan said Morphou (Guzelyurt) and Erenkoy (Kokkina) could be united and left to the Turkish Cypriot side, while the whole of Famagusta, including Varosha/Maras, could be given to the Greek Cypriots.
Finally, the Turkish president said a rotating presidency in which the Turkish Cypriots would hold the post once for every four times that it is held by the Greek Cypriots was unfair, noting that the ratio should be one-to-two.