The European Union should stay out of talks on Cyprus until it recognises the government in the northern third of the island, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said.
“The EU has no place at the table. Not now and not even later, as long as they do not correct their mistake [of not formally recognising the Turkish Cypriot government as well],” Ertuğruloğlu told news website Politico in an interview on Wednesday.
A two-state solution is also the only way forward for the island, Ertuğruloğlu said.
“If there is no chance of a resolution, TRNC would campaign for recognition from other states,” he said.
The United Nations will hold an informal meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland on April 27-29. The five-party talks, including the three guarantor states of the island – Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom – are aimed at deciding whether there is common ground between the parties to proceed to negotiations to reunify the island.
The European Union is insisting on the importance of the bloc’s engagement in planned talks, despite opposition from the divided island’s Turkish administration.
“Engaging in U.N. talks is essential, for the benefit of all Cypriots, the region and the EU,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said during an early March visit to the island.
The EU is not a neutral spectator because it has chosen to stand by the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots, so it has no positive role to play, Ertuğruloğlu said.
“For negotiations to have any chance of success, they must be conducted between equals. If one side is the state and the other side is the community, then you are not talking about a negotiating process that has any chance of success,” he said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened the north in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Administration of Greek Cypriot of Southern Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.
A succession of talks to reunite Cyprus have failed over the past four decades. A meeting in Crans Montana, Switzerland in 2017 constituted the last attempt at settlement talks.
Since TRNC President Ersin Tatar won office in October, the Turkish Cypriot administration and Turkey have begun calling for a “two-state solution” to resolve the dispute. The Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece say a bizonal, bicommunal federation is the only solution.