Cyprus president asks Germany to pressure Turkey over divide – DW – 02/12/2024

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Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides on Monday called on Germany to help the island overcome its decades-old division, since Berlin maintains better relations with fellow NATO member Turkey.

Christodoulides discussed the issue at a meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who became the first German president to visit Nicosia on Monday.

“Our message is that the solution lies in Ankara,” Christodoulides said after the meeting.

The buffer zone at Famagusta
Cyprus is separated by a demilitarized buffer zone that stretches across the islandImage: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Steinmeier said that Turkey’s actions on the island of Cyprus should be taken into account when assessing its overall relations with the European Union.

“Member states should send this message to Turkey,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

What is Germany’s position?

The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Greek-Cypriot south and a Turkish-Cypriot north after a Greek-backed coup followed by a Turkish military intervention in 1974. The southern part is internationally recognized while only Turkey recognizes the northern part as a state.

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Steinmeier said that Germany supports a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN parameters.

“It is high time to work with renewed courage on a solution to the Cyprus question,” Steinmeier said.

Both leaders welcomed a move by the United Nations to recently appoint a new special envoy to initiate talks to overcome the division. Previous talks collapsed in 2017.

“We in Germany, at least, are available to support the UN-led negotiation process and to promote confidence-building measures,” Steinmeier said.

A soldier standing before a map of the buffer zone
Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway government of Northern CyprusImage: ROY ISSA/AFP/Getty Images

Migration also on the agenda

The two leaders also discussed reducing the number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean, including by designating some areas within Syria as safe zones.

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“I don’t consider not discussing the situation inside Syria as an appropriate option for the European Union,” Christodoulides said.

Christodoulides meanwhile thanked Steinmeier for his country’s decision to voluntarily accept 1,000 asylum-seekers from Cyprus.

zc/lo (dpa, Reuters)

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