- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2002

NICOSIA, Cyprus Turkish-Cypriot leaders are skeptical of territorial concessions required by a new U.N. plan that seeks to resolve a long-standing division of the island.
The plan, offered Monday by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, would require Turkish community in northern Cyprus to reduce its territorial control from 36 percent of the island to 28.5 percent, said Zaim M. Necatigil, legal adviser to the northern Cyprus government.
More problematic to the Turkish-controlled north is the proposed displacement under the U.N. plan of an estimated 50,000 people, or 25 percent of the population.
"It will be a potential stumbling block for going ahead," Hakki Muftuzade, an adviser to the president, said in an interview.
The island in the eastern Mediterranean has been divided since 1974, when the Turkish military invaded the northern regions after a coup by Greek Cypriots in the south who wanted to unite the island with Greece.
"The border will be meandering," Mr. Necatigil said of the U.N. plan. "Some inhabited towns, large towns and areas, will have to be handed over."
In return for territorial concessions to the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish side would receive a role in a united government.
The U.N. plan envisions a common state that would grant broad autonomy to both sides while placing foreign affairs and economic policy under control of a single government.
Any agreement will be hard to reach after decades of bitterness and violence.
"The feeling that they want to dominate us is still there," said Mr. Muftuzade.
Complicating a solution is the anticipated invitation later this year for Cyprus to join the European Union.
Unless both sides of the divided island agree on a plan to unify, the EU membership would apply to the wealthier Republic of Cyprus in the south, which is the island's internationally recognized government.
Only Turkey recognizes the north, formally known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Mr. Annan, the U.N. secretary-general, has asked both sides to report back to him by Monday on whether the plan can serve as a basis for further negotiations.


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