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FACTDROP: Turkey denies having ‘Plan B’ for Turkish Cyprus if peace talks fail


Turkey denies having ‘Plan B’ for Turkish Cyprus if peace talks fail

Πηγή: Todays Zaman
April 16 2012

Turkey has said it's up to Turkish Cyprus to decide on what would happen if peace talks aimed at reunifying the long-divided island fail this summer when Greek Cyprus takes over the EU term presidency, dismissing media reports that Turkey will change Turkish Cyprus' name and push for its recognition.

Turkey's Milliyet daily, citing unnamed official sources, reported on Monday that if a solution is not found by the time Greek Cyprus takes over the EU presidency on July 1, Ankara and the Turkish side will initiate a “Plan B.” Plan B would entail beginning to exert unilateral diplomatic efforts for the international recognition of Turkish Cyprus as the “Turkish Cypriot State.”

The Turkish Cypriot State was the name used to refer to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) in former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's 2004 Cyprus Plan as one of the federal units of a United Cyprus Republic. Greek Cyprus was referred to as the Greek Cypriot State.

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey intervened after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Greek Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south enjoys those benefits. Turkish Cypriots in the north declared independence in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes the area and maintains 35,000 troops there.

Numerous rounds of UN-mediated peace talks have led nowhere for over four decades. The latest round, which began amid high hopes in 2008, has achieved limited progress, and both sides have begun blaming each other for the impasse.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters following a Cabinet meeting on Monday that the ministers didn't discuss Plan B or a change of the KKTC's name. Reiterating that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides are currently holding peace talks to reunify the island, Arınç said any so-called Plan B would be for Turkish Cyprus to decide on. He added that the Turkish government doesn't have any official information about any such plan.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to call an international conference by early May, bringing together Britain, Greece and Turkey to put the final touches on a Cyprus accord. However, the two sides have not been able to converge closely enough on key issues.

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