- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Washington Times article “Turkish-Cypriot vote threatens talks on unification” (World, Friday) should have gone a step further and addressed the real reason why the unification of Cyprus has been so elusive for 35 years - because of Turkey.

It is not enough to claim that the recent “victory in a Turkish Cypriot parliamentary election of a hard-line party that wants a two-state solution” threatens the talks to unite Cyprus. The real problem comes from Turkey, which also has called for a two-state solution. In fact, even though the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, and the president of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, have been negotiating on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation in one sovereign state since September, not once has Turkey publicly proclaimed that it endorses this position.

It is encouraging to hear statements from Dervis Eroglu that reunification talks would continue. Unless Mr. Talat is allowed to negotiate solely on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots without external pressures from Turkey, there will be little chance for progress.

A more assertive U.S. policy that warns Turkish leaders not to manipulate the current talks and not to restrict Mr. Talat at the bargaining table and calls for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops would send a strong message and facilitate the negotiations immensely.

NICK LARIGAKIS

Executive director

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

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