In front of a UN special advisor, Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders will meet again today to discuss a schedule for restarting reunification talks. On Tuesday, the leaders expressed their commitment to agree on a proposal by February for citizens of the two sides to separately vote on.
Turkey’s 30,000 troops stationed in Cyprus is likely to remain a contentious issue. While Turkey reports that they have agreed to reduce their troop numbers to 650, Greece considers any presence of foreign troops incompatible with Cyprus being an independent EU state.
The bi-zonal principle of the proposal is another issue. When Turkish Cypriots only represent 20% of the population, many Greek Cypriots consider their demands for political equality as undemocratic.
The dispute recently intensified over the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves on Cyprus’s coast. Following discussions on a pipeline between Cyprus, Greece and Israel, the Turkish navy physically prevented Greek Cypriots from exploiting the reserves.
Expect a proposal focused on dealing with troops and power-sharing. If it passes the vote, a resolution on hydrocarbon reserves may be not too far off.
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Saira is an analyst in the Current Developments team, where she focuses her research on the Middle East and North Africa region.