Former Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat said that contrary to common belief, the power for a solution to the Cyprus problem did not lie in Turkey’s hands.
However, as Turkey was the only country to recognise the TRNC, Talat admitted it has had significant influence on Turkish Cypriot affairs. Speaking on Greek Cypriot TV, Talat explained why he and former Greek Cypriot President Christofias could not reach a settlement.
Asked about the specific reasons why he and Christofias failed to reach to an agreement, Talat said that during the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Cyprus at that time, Ban requested a joint statement from the leaders. According to Talat, Ban was aiming to secure the continuation of the process from where it would be left off, should there be a change in leadership.
Talat then went on to say that Christofias did not agree with Ban’s proposal and that the Greek Cypriot side was unwilling to develop the negotiation process by accepting the issues which were agreed upon. The former president said that this was one of the main reasons that prevented them from reaching a settlement.
One of the other main hindrances was the timetable for the negotiations. Talat said that the Greek Cypriot side did not want to speed up the process and finalise it with the support of the international community, Turkey and Greece. According to Talat, the Greek Cypriot side presented excuses to not accept the timetable.
He added that AKEL’s then coalition partners DIKO and EDEK were against a solution and that Christofias stood alone in that sense. “Their coalition partners DIKO and EDEK were against a solution. Anastasiades had supported him for a while but then he withdrew his support and Christofias was left alone in this” said Talat.
Another reason that prevented the completion of the process was the property issue. According to Talat, the Greek Cypriot side had wanted to go back to pre-1974 conditions in regard to property and that this issue was left unresolved. Talat added that on many other issues, both sides were able to come to an agreement.
Replying to a question on Confidence Building Measures, Talat said that the CBMs were very significant but that they should not over-shadow the work for a comprehensive settlement.