World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (KKTC) Prime Minister İrsen Küçük has said he sees opportunities to move toward a settlement with the Greek south this year and wants help from the US.
Küçük was in Washington on Tuesday looking for ways to revive the stalled reunification talks with the Greek south.
"We believe that 2013 could be a very conducive time to push things in the right direction," Küçük said, speaking through an interpreter, during a conference at the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). "We are expecting positive contributions from the US,” added Küçük.
“It is high time for the resolution of the Cyprus issue. Turkish Cypriots have no patience to wait another 50 years for this. I am once more extending an olive branch through this platform. We can still unite under a federal state,” Küçük underlined.
Küçük's meetings with US officials this week followed a visit last week by the foreign minister of the internationally recognized Greek Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulidis. The issue is also expected to come up when Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan meets with US President Obama this week.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey sent troops to the island after a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in 1983 is recognized only by Turkey, which maintains 35,000 troops there.
Turkey doesn't recognize Greek Cyprus as a sovereign country and has bristled at the south's push to exploit large gas fields off the island. Turkey is also building a pipeline to carry water to the parched north. Despite tensions over gas and water, Küçük said the issues also offer new incentives for a settlement.
"Both issues need either a comprehensive settlement or a temporary arrangement that will allow both parties to exchange these resources," he said.
But he also acknowledged that the south's deep financial crisis has hindered Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades from moving forward.
"Since he [Anastasiades] found himself in a deep economic crisis, he has been showing reluctance to set up a calendar to resolve matters," Küçük said.Last Mod: 16 Mayıs 2013, 10:40