Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades emphasizes withdrawal of Turkish troops

January 13, 2017 12:00 pm

Greek Cypriot President gives a press conference following UN-sponsored talks in Geneva on January 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Greek Cypriot president says the withdrawal of about 30,000 Turkish troops from serves as a precondition for any agreement to reunify the Mediterranean island.
Nicos Anastasiades said there “must” be an agreement “on the withdrawal of the Turkish army.”
He made the remarks at a press conference in Geneva on Friday.
Leaders of Cyprus’ ethnic Greek and Turkish communities have been engaged in reunification talks in the Swiss city since January 9.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, ruled out a complete withdrawal of the troops.
Erdogan said such a move was “out of the question.” He added, in televised comments, that the Greek Cypriot Republic of Cyprus and Athens “still have different expectations” on resolving the decades-long dispute. Turkish Cypriots “are working intensely and bring sincerity,” he added.
The Turkish president also stated that there were major differences on the issue of a rotating presidency for any future united two-zone federation.
Erdogan said it was “unacceptable” that Turks could hold the presidency for only one term, while Greeks were allowed to do so for four terms. He said it was “fair” that Greek Cypriots have two terms for every term granted to Turkish Cypriots. “Apart from this, we told them (in Geneva) that ‘no one should expect anything from us.'”
Erdogan’s comments come a day after UN-brokered talks between rival Cypriot delegations broke up.
The new session of the talks for Cyprus ended with merely an agreement for the sides to meet again at a later time to make another attempt at finding a political solution to the dispute.
Anastasiades, however, seemed to be more optimistic, saying the negotiations had raised hopes that an agreement can be reached.
“We are on a path that creates hope,” he said after talks with North-Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci as well as top diplomats from Turkey, Greece, and Britain on Friday.
Cyprus has been traditionally partitioned between ethnic Turks and Greeks.
In 1974, however, Turkey’s armed forces occupied the northern parts of Cyprus in response to Greece’s efforts to annex the Greek-speaking-majority eastern Mediterranean island to Athens.
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