The generosity of Turkey regarding taking care of Syrian refugees should be matched by other countries, UN Chief Antonio Guterres said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday. Guterres had high praise for Turkey’s efforts to deal with the millions of refugees pouring into its country. He stressed that Turkey is effectively handling the situation single-handedly at a time when other countries are closing their borders and walking away from responsibility. “This generosity should be matched,” he said of Turkey. “This is also a moment to launch an appeal – when we see so many borders being closed and when we see so many escaping their responsibilities-this is a moment to appeal for effective burden-sharing and to make sure that the integrity of the international refugee protection regime is maintained.” On Cyprus, he said the UN is in service to the two communities and the guarantor states stand ready to support a solution accepted by everyone. Prime Minister Yıldırım once gain urged the world to do its fair share to help solve problems in the region. Yıldırım said Turkey is hosting three million refugees without much support from other countries and the entire world is aware. “We want everybody to accept their responsibilities and not to be stingy on sharing burdens to end the problems in this region,” he said. Referring to Cyprus talks, Yıldırım said any new administration there should be just and the two communities, Turkish and Greek, must be equally represented.
Turkey and the U.K. have agreed upon the importance of reaching a settlement on the divided island of Cyprus ahead of next week’s summit in the Swiss capital, Geneva, according to a Downing Street statement on Saturday. The Cyprus reunification talks will start on Jan. 9 in Geneva, but they resumed in May 2015, and both sides have repeatedly expressed optimism that a solution would be found by the end of last year. If a deal is reached on territorial changes, negotiators are expected to announce a date for a final summit between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders and three other states involved in the process as guarantor countries: Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. Once a final agreement is reached, it would be put to both communities in a referendum.
The EU is continuing to demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island and the end to Turkey’s guarantor state status.
Any agreement reached under these conditions will be the end of the gains of the TRNC, as well as the end of the Turkish Cypriots, and will pose a serious threat to Turkey’s existence and security in the Mediterranean. The thesis that the Turkish side has been defending all along has been the solution based on “bi-zonal and bi-communal” equality with two democracies. European countries behind them have never accepted this solution. At each negotiation phase, they have asked for and insisted on more territory, the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island and the acceptance that Turkey is not a guarantor state. The two major obstacles standing in the way of the Greek Cyprus Administration to abolish the TRNC and extend sovereignty over the Turkish Cypriots is Turkey’s guarantor state status and the presence of Turkish troops on the island. It is not realistic for the Greek side to think that they could easily remove these assurances that are vitally important for the Turkish Cypriots.
Israel, Greece and Cyprus have agreed to launch a regional force for tackling fires and other natural disasters, their leaders said on Thursday. Speaking before a three-way summit at which they were expected to discuss Mediterranean offshore gas, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the force would also respond to earthquakes and floods. The announcement comes two weeks after Greek and Cypriot personnel helped extinguish some of Israel’s worst wildfires in years.