Tassos calls for pressure on Turkish side
By Andreas Hadjipapas
PRESIDENT Papadopoulos ho-pes that pressure will be exerted on the Turkish side to make it change its intransigent stand and resume talks on the implementation of the July 8 agreement.
The Turkish Cypriots on the other hand claim that President Papadopoulos is not interested in effective negotiations for a comprehensive settlement and hope the UN Secretary-General will be assuming a more active role in the Cyprus issue.
Papadopoulos made it clear in a speech this week that Greek Cypriots will never approve or “counter-sign” the faits acomplis created by the Turkish invasion or accept a solution legalising and perpetuating in any way these faits accomplis.
The Turks insist that a settlement should be based on the “present realities” – the island’s division, the existence of a breakaway state, the presence of 35.000 Turkish troops occupying the north and of tens of thousands of settlers from mainland Turkey.
Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, is preparing to fly to New York for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon next Tuesday.
His spokesman, Hasan Ercakica, said Talat would ask the S-G to “be more active” in the Cyprus problem. He will also propose measures for the improvement of relations between the two communities.
He made no mention of the July 8 agreement that Talat and Papadopoulos reached last year with the help of United Nations officials.
Ercakica said that Talat would also meet Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns. President Papadopoulos saw both the S-G and Burns during his visit to New York earlier this month.
In remarks this week, Papadopoulos repeated his call for talks on the basis of the July 8 agreement and the Gambari process, aimed at preparing the ground for fully-fledged negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.
He noted that this process has the full backing of the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council.
“While we show our good will to work for a compromise settlement, Ankara repeats its talk about a solution based on two separate states,” he said.
He censured Turkey because, while aspiring to join the European Union, it was at the same time flouting every principle and notion of the Union.
“It is illogical that Turkey is seeking to join this organisation but at the same time it refuses to recognise all its members”.
The President added: “While we will continue to show our goodwill for a solution, we expect that pressure will be exerted on the Turkish side so as to bend its intransigence and make it enter into talks with a conciliatory attitude, showing respect to an agreement which it has accepted and signed.”
The President issued a warning that any effort to bring back the Annan Plan, which was rejected by Greek Cypriots in the 2004 referendum, was doomed to failure.
His warning appeared to be aimed at Burns who has stated that negotiators making a new bid to tackle the Cyprus problem could draw ideas and the “best parts” or positive elements from previous efforts.
The Americans say the UN should try to speed up the Cyprus peace process and get some progress in 2008. Analysts believe this American desire is driven by their concern that an unresolved dispute over Cyprus may hinder Turkey’s EU accession course.
In his comments, Ercakica claimed that Papadopoulos was trying to “render negotiations impossible” and that he “never referred to a comprehensive settlement.”
His sole aim was to present the Cyprus issue as a problem of foreign occupation and thus secure the withdrawal of the Turkish army and then through “osmosis” to assimilate the Turkish Cypriot community within the Greek Cypriot community, Ercakica added.