Ankara stalls on leaders’ bilateral Cyprus meeting

Ankara stalls on leaders’ bilateral Cyprus meeting

The delegation of Greek diplomats that was in Ankara this week for talks to lay the groundwork for a possible bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a summit in Geneva on January 12 about Cyprus have reportedly made little headway.

Analysts have interpreted the lack of progress as part of Turkey’s intention to stall the meeting between the two men, which is a Greek request. And given matters so far, Ankara’s objective has already been partly achieved as the Geneva summit is now just a little under two weeks away. Given the delays, analysts do not rule out a Tsipras-Erdogan meeting at the 11th hour.

According to sources, Ankara’s stalling tactics are part of its push for “package talks” to include not just post-settlement security arrangements and guarantees on Cyprus, but also other Greek-Turkish bilateral issues.

Sources said Thursday Athens has categorically denied that this push was even discussed during the recent diplomatic contacts.

Moreover, tension between Athens and Ankara may escalate further as, on January 10, 11 and 13, the Supreme Court is expected to hear the appeals of the eight Turkish officers against their extradition to Turkey.

Meanwhile Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will meet with Tsipras in Athens Friday. Their meeting will also be attended by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides. On January 5, Anastasiades is scheduled to convene the island’s National Council to brief Cypriot political party leaders, and on January 9 he plans to address Greek Cypriots.

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