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Erdogan says Turks, Greeks still at odds on Cyprus

Erdogan said Turkish Cypriots "are working intensely and bring sincerity" but the Greek Cypriot Republic of Cyprus and Athens "still have different expectations.

Published: 13th January 2017 05:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2017 06:08 PM   |  A+A-

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AP)

By AFP

ISTANBUL:  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Athens and Greek Cypriots still have "different expectations" on resolving the Cyprus problem from their Turkish counterparts, after crunch talks this week in Geneva.

Erdogan said Turkish Cypriots "are working intensely and bring sincerity", but that the Greek Cypriot Republic of Cyprus and Athens "still have different expectations". 

He added in televised comments that a full withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Cyprus was "out of the question".

"This is what we had previously discussed," he added.

Erdogan indicated there were also major differences on the issue of a rotating presidency for any future bizonal united Cyprus divided between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot entities.

He said it was "unacceptable" that Turkish Cypriots could hold the presidency for just one term while Greek Cypriots had it for four.

He has said previously that there had been discussions on the Greek Cypriots having two terms for every term granted to the Turkish Cypriots.

"That is fair. If we want a fair and comprehensive peace then this is the way to do it," he said.

Indicating that Ankara was not in the mood for concessions he added: "Apart from this, we told them (in Geneva) that 'no one should expect anything from us'".

Cypriot leaders pledged to forge ahead with efforts to reunite the divided island claiming "real progress" at an unprecedented meeting in Geneva bringing together all the protagonists, including the three guarantor powers Greece, Turkey, and Britain.

There had been rumours Erdogan himself could attend but in the end the meeting was attended by foreign ministers of the three guarantor powers.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Turkish Cypriots made up just 18 percent of the island's population in 1974, but they currently control more than a third of its territory.



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