A meeting between Turkish and Greek Cypriot negotiators was canceled Tuesday over a Greek Cypriot move to honor “Enosis,” or the idea of Cyprus being annexed by Greece.
On Monday, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci told reporters the meeting on the island between Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami and Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis “will probably not be held” due to the controversial move.
The Greek Cypriot parliament voted Friday to introduce a yearly public school commemoration of a 1950 referendum in which Greek Cypriots voted overwhelmingly for Greece to annex the island.
On Monday, Mustafa Akinci asked UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide to urge the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration not to approve the decision.
On Tuesday evening, Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying it “joins the statements made by President Mustafa Akinci.
“The Greek Cypriot leader’s characterization of this decision as ‘a simple reference to a historical fact’ and his depiction of it as being equivalent to the celebrations of the anniversaries of the July 20 Cyprus Peace Operation and the Nov. 15 founding of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, on the other hand, are both meaningless and unacceptable.
“The Cyprus Peace Operation aimed to put an end to the humanitarian tragedy caused by a mentality rooted in delusions of ‘Enosis’.
“At the current stage in the negotiations aiming to establish a new Partnership State in Cyprus based on political equality of the two sides as put forth in the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014, it is clear that the Greek Cypriot parliament’s and leadership’s ownership of the proposal made by the far-right, racist ELAM will not contribute to confidence-building between the two peoples on the Island, nor will it contribute to the negotiation process.
“In fact, this current case as well as various previous examples, clearly demonstrated that as long as a fundamental change does not take place in such Greek Cypriot mentality, which refuses to accept the Turkish Cypriots as co-owners of the Island, it will be difficult to achieve results from the efforts aiming towards a settlement in Cyprus.”
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
The issue of reunification of Cyprus remains unsolved despite a series of discussions which resumed in May 2015.
The main goal is to find a political solution as the sides seek to reunify the island under a federal system after more than 40 years of division.
Cyprus’ three guarantors — Turkey, Greece, and Great Britain — were assigned when it gained independence from the U.K. in 1960.