Possibility of permanent division getting stronger in Cyprus

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In the wake of the second round of talks between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus that are due to resume on Sept. 3, Turkish Cyprus President Mehmet Ali Talat said the possibility of the division on the island to be permanent was getting stronger.

“The talks cannot go on forever; there will be a point when we will say ‘enough.’ As there is an end to everything, if the talks cannot be successful, the process will collapse by itself,” said Talat. He added: “I think there will be a resolution.”

Referring to Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias’s call on the European Union to exert pressure on Turkey, in the light of its EU accession course and its European aspirations, to change Ankara’s stance and cooperate toward reaching a settlement, Talat said, “Christofias’s threats to Turkey look funny.”

Talat said: “I am not willing to give Karpaz and Güzelyurt [regions in northern Cyprus] if the Greeks ask for it. These are issues that have not been discussed yet. It is better if they are not discussed through the press.”

The Turkish Cypriot president said the possibility of a permanent division between the Greek and Turkish sides was strengthening. “Permanent division is becoming a stronger probability with each passing day. This is a fact. The probability of a permanent division will strengthen as long as there is no resolution,” said Talat. He added that he viewed it an unavoidable necessity for the Turkish military to remain on the island until a resolution has been reached.

Talat also said that his aim was to resolve the Cyprus issue. “If the doors to a resolution are shut completely, then it will be necessary to reevaluate the situation. My aim and mission is to resolve the Cyprus issue. If a condition arises that is not compatible with my mission, then it is only natural that I do not have a place there,” he said.

The lack of recognition of northern Cyprus as a country in the international arena also raises problems, according to Talat. “We would have been at a very different point today if there was the possibility of northern Cyprus’s recognition,” he said.

Talat said the recent opening of Quran courses in northern Cyprus was bothersome and that religious education should be given in schools. “It should be given during school terms, not during summer breaks,” he added.

“There should be no worries; the Cyprus issue is in capable hands. No one should worry; there will be no agreement that will be disadvantageous to Turkish Cypriots or Turkey. We seek a mutually acceptable agreement. Such an agreement cannot be to Turkish Cypriots’ or Turkey’s disadvantage,” said Talat.

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