Government condemns new Ecevit stance on Cyprus

By Jean Christou

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday rejected new efforts by Turkey to moot a ‘two state’ solution for Cyprus after Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit suggested the island follow the Czechoslovak model of separation by mutual consent.

Turkish mainland newspaper Hurriyet on Tuesday quoted Ecevit as saying that two separate states should be created in Cyprus, and for the first time he set aside, not only the idea of a federation, but also of a confederation.

“Czechoslovakians shook hands and separated. why is so much effort made to bring together Cyprus’ two peoples whose language, religion and nationality are different,” he said.

Turkey’s national security council, which also met on Tuesday, concluded that the existing two ‘states’ on the island were the starting point of any settlement and warned of the consequences of Cyprus becoming a member of the EU ahead of a settlement.

Commenting on Ecevit’s statements, and on the statements of the National Security Council, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail that both were unacceptable to Cyprus.

“Both approaches reveal the real intentions of Turkey,” he said. “They came here as conquerors, and as conquerors they want to keep part of Cyprus, which is contrary to all decisions of international fora and especially the resolutions of the United Nations.”

Papapetrou said that “once again” the Cyprus government called on Turkey to fall in line with international law and co-operate in substantial negotiations to reach a compromise solution.

He said Ecevit had made clear Turkey’s desire for two separate states in Cyprus. “He is absolutely clear. He wants two independent states so he is even rejecting confederation from now on,” Papapetrou said.

Ecevit said he could not see why the international community was pushing for a federation in Cyprus when the Czechoslovak model was obviously the best choice.

“I do not understand why the US and the EU are so insistent,” he said in Hurriyet. “This involves nothing that could concern any EU member country apart from Greece. Europe and the US must understand this.”

Diplomatic sources said Ecevit’s statements were nothing to worry about as far as the international community was concerned, as the countries involved in the Cyprus peace process fully supported the UN Secretary-general in his good offices mission in Cyprus.

“The important thing is that it’s not the UN that is saying this,” one source said, referring to Ecevit’s comments on the Czechoslovak model.

A report on CNN-Turk television in Ankara claimed it had information that the National Security Council had concluded that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash should return to the UN-led proximity talks. The reports were later denied, but the issue of UNFICYP’s mandate was on the agenda, Bayrak radio said.

“The NSC meeting proposed to increase the reaction to the practice of adopting a decision on extending the UNFICYP mandate without consulting the ‘TRNC’ and called for increasing the measures on restricting the movement of the force,” press reports said.

UNFICYP’s six-monthly mandate is up for renewal next month.