'Greek remarks against Turkey poisoning'

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has harshly criticized Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias for his remarks targeting Ankara.

'Greek remarks against Turkey poisoning'

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has harshly criticized Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias for his remarks targeting Ankara by calling on permanent members of the UN Security Council to put pressure on the Turkish government to change its policy on the Cyprus issue, Today's Zaman reported. 

The polemic between the two leaders follows a landmark meeting of the two on March 21 when they agreed to restart stalled talks on reunifying the ethnically divided island.

Talat and Christofias then agreed to meet again in three months to discuss reunification efforts. Aides have begun consultations on negotiation topics as part of preparations for the talks scheduled to take place in three months. Over the weekend, speaking at a memorial service, Christofias was quoted by Greek Cypriot media as saying: "[The Greek Cypriot people have] realized it was not at all easy to reverse the facts created by the invasion, the long-standing occupation and division of our homeland. We know that we are not dealing merely with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots."

Underlining the role of the international community, Christofias also noted: "More than ever, we need the international community to exert pressure on Turkey. Because, we repeat once again, that if Turkey does not alter its policy on Cyprus, the road for a solution will not open, in spite of the good will on our side."

Both the Turkish Cypriot Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and Turkey have exerted significant efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue and they do not have to prove these obvious efforts, Talat said in response, in remarks delivered to the Turkish News Agency-Cyprus (TAK) and the state-owned Bayrak Radio and Television (BRT).

The party which needs to prove its will for resolution and a change in its policy is the Greek Cypriot side, Talat added, while noting the fact that both the KKTC and Ankara at the time backed a UN-led reunification plan which was simultaneously voted on by the two sides of the divided island in 2004. The plan, however, became null and void after the Greek Cypriots rejected it shortly before entering the EU as official representatives of the entire island. Despite overwhelmingly supporting the plan, the Turkish Cypriots were left out without being granted EU rights.

"These kinds of statements serve nothing but to poison the environment," Talat said when asked about the probable impact of Christofias' remarks on the new process of reunifying the island.

"It should also not be ignored that Turkey -- whose role as an important actor in resolving the Cyprus issue cannot be denied -- could feel hurt, could even feel furious, if these kinds of approaches are repeated, although it is known that these are clearly wrong and lies," Talat said.

The four-decade-old Cyprus problem actually erupted after the eastern Mediterranean island was granted independence from Britain in 1960, soon followed by an outbreak of inter-communal clashes in 1963, the KKTC leader underlined, in response to Christofias, who described the Cyprus issue as "an issue of invasion," in apparent reference to the 1974 Turkish military intervention under the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee after diplomacy failed to end unrest on the island.

Last Mod: 15 Nisan 2008, 14:55
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