Why Do Negotiations on Cyprus Failed?

During the last couple of days the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akıncı have been engaged in active round of negotiations on the Cyprus issue ( this round of talks began 17 months ago) in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland.  It seemed that the leaders were close to reaching agreement, when the UN Spokesperson in Cyprus, Aleem Siddique, came up with a statement that reads: “Despite their best efforts, they have not been able to achieve the necessary further convergences on criteria for territorial adjustment that would have paved the way for the last phase of the talks.”

What does “territorial adjustment” mean and how do the positions of the two sides collide? The sides disagree on the percentage of the territory that should remain under Turkish Cypriot jurisdiction. Akinci suggests 29.2 percent of the island, while the Greek Cypriots propose 28 percent, DWreports. Another source, ”New Europe”, citing to Cypriot daily “Politis,” reports that while the leaders broadly agree on percentages, there are disagreements over towns and villages. As Euroactive reports, both sides had drawn a red line when it came to the return of Morphou, a town in the northwestern part of Cyprus, under the de facto control of Northern Cyprus.

As it is known, the island was divided into two parts when in 1974 the Turkish troops occupied northern part of the island.

Another issue at stake is the number of refugees. As Cyprus Mail reports Greek Cypriot side wants 80,000 to 90,000 refugees to have the chance of return, the Turkish side was trying to reduce this to 70,000 to 75,000.

Another major issue refers to the Turkey’s notion of a Cyprus guarantee (Turkey tries to go back to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantees between the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the UK, to justify the Turkish invasion of Cyprus). This is opposed by Greece.  Greek Foreign Ministry once made an official statement on the issue which reads:  ”guarantees and occupation after the settlement of the Cyprian conflict would result in the situation, when the EU member would be a protectorate of the third country,” Sputnik News reports.

Those were the major issues at stake that caused the failure of the current cycle of negotiations and on which the leaders of Greek and Turkish Cyprus should “reflect on the way forward.”