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Iran Press TV

Turkey-Greece standoff: President Erdogan says two-state solution only option

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 7:03 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out discussing a federal system to reunify Cyprus, stressing that the only way to resolve decades of dispute over the ethnically-split island is to establish two states.

In a Wednesday address to legislators from his ruling party, Erdogan said a federation favored by Athens would not be on the agenda of the upcoming UN-brokered talks.

"There is no longer any solution but a two-state solution. Whether you accept it or not, there is no federation anymore," the president told lawmakers.

"Only under these conditions can we sit at the table over Cyprus. Otherwise everyone should go their own way."

Erdogan also stated that recent statements by Greece and the Cypriot government showed they were disregarding the breakaway Turkish Cypriot authorities – recognized only by Ankara.

"There is no point in discussing old solution formulas... which disregarded the Turkish people on the island and condemned the negotiations to failure for 50 years. That business is finished now," Erdogan said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to call a meeting that will bring together rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots as well as Cyprus' 'guarantors' to mull resuming reunification talks.

The leaders of Greece and Cyprus have said they would only accept a peace deal based on UN resolutions, rejecting the "two-state" formula supported by Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan accused Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of being confrontational and disrupting newly-resumed Greek-Turkish talks aimed at reducing tensions between the two neighbors.

Cyprus and Turkey have been in a dispute for years regarding the ownership of fossil fuels and natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara says Turkish Cypriots are entitled to a share of the resources in the region.

Last month, officials from Greece and Turkey held their first meeting in five years in Istanbul to resolve their differences.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief, Greek-inspired coup.

Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean has complicated the negotiations over the past years.

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