EU calls for ‘constructive engagement’ in Cyprus reunification, following Tatar’s election

The European Union has called for a “constructive engagement” in Cyprus settlement talks, after Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hardline candidate, Ersin Tatar was elected as the new President of the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.

“It is important now to see a constructive engagement with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement and reunification,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell along with Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner, Elisa Ferreira said in a statement on Tuesday.

The two EU officials also pledged their support to the prospect of the island’s reunification under a “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation,” which is the UN-backed solution.

Tatar wins election run-off
 election has sparked a new round of fears over the island’s fate, with Erdogan’s favourite clearly supporting stronger ties with Ankara and a two-state solution with separate sovereign administrations, contrary to Mustafa Akinci’s position, who is endorsing the UN-backed efforts to reunite the island as a “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.”

The Ankara-backed candidate secured 51.74% of the vote in the presidential elections on Sunday, ahead of Akinci, at 48.26%. The defeated left-wing candidate, Akinci, supported that the election contest “wasn’t normal”, and wished “good luck to our people,” as he had advocated for the reunification of the island, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern third of it, following a coup by supporters of a union with Greece.

“We deserve our sovereignty – we are the voice of Turkish Cypriots,” Tatar stated after the announcement of the results. “We deserve independence. We are fighters. We are fighting to exist within the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’,” the leader of the National Union Party (UBP) added.

The elections’ outcome came amid growing tensions between Ankara and Athens-Nicosia, over potential offshore gas and oil reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey’s Oruc Reis’ recent foray back into the region. Earlier in the month, in what was considered as a provocation ahead of the presidential elections, the Turkish administration of Northern Cyprus reopened the abandoned coastal city of Varosha in Famagusta.

The move has been decried by Cyprus, with the country’s President, Nicos Anastasiades condemning the plans, labelling them “illegal.” Similarly Greece warned it “will not allow provocations on the Cypriot issue to pass,” whilst urging Ankara to resume the process of exploratory talks.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also voiced concerns over the move, while EU’s top diplomat Borrell kept a more hardline stance, saying that the reopening of the no-man’s land will further impede efforts for the resolution of the Cyprus conundrum.

News by NewEurope

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