Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has told Greek Cypriots to stop dreaming that 35,000 Turkish forces will leave the divided island.
“This is their dream. They should wake up from this dream and they should abandon this dream,” he said Thursday at U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Cavusoglu said the current round of talks should be the last attempt to resolve the decades-old dispute over Cyprus.
“We cannot continue negotiating forever,” the Turkish diplomat said.
His Greek counterpart, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, said the Turkish side has been repeating the same positions over and over.
The Greek Cypriots’ demand that Turkish forces go home is one of the major roadblocks to a deal to reunify the Mediterranean island after 43 years.
Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in July 1974, after a coup in Nicosia that was aimed at unifying the island with Greece. Cyprus has been divided since then between separate administrations — Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north — kept apart by U.N. peacekeepers.
Only Turkey recognizes the north, while the Greek south enjoys international recognition and European Union benefits.
Turkish Cypriots want Ankara’s troops to stay on for their security; Greek officials in Nicosia say the continuing presence of the Turkish army is a threat to stability.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans to join the talks in Switzerland on Friday in the hope of moving the negotiations forward.