NEWS

Minutes shed light on Turkish intransigence at Crans-Montana Cyprus talks

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The official minutes of a meeting between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on July 6, 2017, during the high-levels talks on the Cyprus issue in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, confirm that Turkey had declared its intransigence with regards to the presence of its troops on the divided island ahead of the stormy session that signaled the collapse of the peace talks.

According to a report in Hellas Journal on Friday citing the unpublished official minutes of the conference by the United Nation, maintaining a “permanent” military presence in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus was a “red line” for Ankara.

“The Treaty of Alliance could be constructed as a new treaty but should contain a clause that provided for the permanent presence of Turkish troops. Zero troops was a red line for Turkey,” the minutes say.

Guterres was also reportedly handed a non-paper by the Turkish foreign minister outlining Turkey’s positions in detail. According to Hellas Journal, the UN chief was asked not to share these positions with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades or with Greece’s foreign minister at the time, Nikos Kotzias.

The exchange reportedly took place as part of efforts by Guterres to break a logjam on the ninth day of discussions. He shuttled between participants to gauge where they stood on key issues, the Associated Press reported at the time.

It also took place hours before a stormy working dinner hosted by Guterres for all participants, which ended without an agreement.

“Unfortunately…an agreement was not possible and the conference was closed without the possibility to bring a solution to this dramatically long-lasting problem,” Guterres told reporters on the morning of July 7, the AP reported.

Also speaking to reporters after the working dinner, Cavusoglu had claimed the talks collapsed because of Greek and Greek Cypriot insistence for Ankara to pull out all of its troops from the island and for military intervention rights to be abolished.

“For Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side it is not acceptable for troops to be withdrawn,” he told reporters.