In what is being considered a very divisive statement that will give a new turn to the Cypriot political scene, a senior Turkish Cypriot official has said that Cyrpus reunification talks should only resume only if there is any intention to address the political needs and status of the Turkish Cypriots.
According to Ozdil Nami, chief negotiator of the Turkish Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots also have their rights, which should be duly addressed by the Greek Cypriots. Furthermore, the former group should get the assurance that their political status would be spelled out even if the talks broke down.
Speaking to Reuters in an interview earlier last week, Nami, who was “speaking for the Turkish Cypriot side” insisted that regardless of what the new process would turn out to be, it should be something that brings stability and transparency to the political status and rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Specifically, the talks should specifically spell out what the political status would be if the Greek Cypriots decide to go back on anything they have – or will – promise. Pressed further on whether he meant Turkish Cypriots should be given some kind of permanent recognition that would protect them should the new initiative sink due to the Greek Cypriots backing out, he said: “Exactly”.
This comes in response to the collapse of talks to unite Cyprus in July, which effectively ended what was considered the most promising round of negotiations. A deal that would have the island reunited and brought under the rule of a two-zone federal system simply collapsed into a two-sided “blame game,” with each pointing fingers at the other.
Nami echoed the voice of the Turkish Cypriots, saying that the lack of unity has led to an atmosphere of political ambiguity, and it is high time that this should end. He added that the need of the hour is to change the status quo in a way that is mutually agreed upon.