Cyprus talks stumble over fate of Turkish troops

A week of UN-brokered talks in Geneva between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci sparked optimism that an agreement to reunify the island could be at hand. 

Cyprus talks stumble over fate of Turkish troops

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hopes for a peace deal in Cyprus stalled Friday over a decades-old dispute, with the rival sides at loggerheads over the future of Turkish troops on the divided island.

But any settlement will require an agreement on Cyprus's future security, with key players Greece, Turkey and former colonial power Britain needing to sign on. 

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

And a key sticking point remains the presence of some 30,000 Turkish troops in the north of the island. 

Ankara and Akinci have insisted that some Turkish military presence is essential for Turkish Cypriots to feel safe in a prospective united country. 

Anastasiades on Friday restated his position that a timeline must be agreed for those troops to eventually withdraw.

And Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said there can be no solution to the four-decade division of Cyprus while Turkish "occupation" troops remain.

"A just solution (to division) means, first of all, eliminating what caused it, namely the occupation and presence of occupation forces," Kotzias said, according to a ministry statement as he left Geneva.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that a full withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Cyprus was "out of the question".

He said in televised remarks that Athens and Greek Cypriots still have "different expectations" from their Turkish and Turkish Cypriot counterparts on resolving the Cyprus problem.

UN envoy Espen Barth Eide cautioned that discussions on security had just begun and that the subject was "emotional" for all sides.

He insisted that efforts to end one of the world's longest running political crises would not be derailed over a temporary war of words.  

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Ocak 2017, 17:34
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