World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking on Tuesday in Brussels, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey's government has supported the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus's (TRNC) constructive attitude in finding a peaceful solution in the ongoing conflict.
Criticizing Greece for not playing a role in the negotiations, Erdogan said, "Greece, as a guarantor country, should support this process with the same attitude. Our basic principle is a federal structure that is based on two founder states. We cannot accept anything apart from that."
Erdogan also said that the Greek Cypriot administration cannot represent the whole island, adding that there should not be any problem according to the EU acquis.
"The South side cannot represent Northern Cyprus," Erdogan said, adding "If they had this kind of authority, then why are these negotiations being held? Since these negotiations are being held, neglecting the Turks of Northern Cyprus and portraying the South as the representatives of the whole island is contrary to international standards of justice."
Referring to calls to withdraw Turkish troops from the island, Erdogan said "When we accepted the Annan Plan the Greek Cypriots rejected it. Now they tell us with withdraw our troops."
"The Greek Cypriots should not abandon the negotiations. The Turkish Cypriots are not the ones abandoning the talks," Erdogan said in regards to renewed efforts to restart the peace process.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey exercized its constitutional right as a guarantor by conducting a military operation following a coup by far-right Greek Cypriot extremist group EOKA.
As a safeguard, Turkish Cypriots living in the south of the island fled north where Turkey's troops had based their soldiers. Greek Cypriots in the north fled south. After 9 years of failed peace talks, thr Turkish Cypriots declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, which to this day has only been recognized by Turkey.
In 2004, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan proposed a plan to reuinte the island under one government, which was taken to referendum. While the Turkish Cypriots largely accepted the plan, the Greek Cypriots rejected it. The Greek Cypriot administration was accepted into the European Union, which considers them to represent the entire island.
Nonetheless, despite a brief stalemate in peace talks, both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot governments are once again sitting at the negotiation table to discuss the possibility of forming a bi-zonal federal state in talks brokered by the UN.Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2014, 10:44