Political equality a must for Cyprus solution: Turkey

The idea of Enosis day celebrations works against the island's reunification talks, says Turkish foreign minister

Political equality a must for Cyprus solution: Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

 A solution on Cyprus can only be achieved with the political equality of the Greek and Turkish sides within a federal state framework, Turkey’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci in the Turkish Cypriot capital, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Turkish side is still willing to resume the island’s reunification talks.

He said Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have always taken a constructive attitude towards the Greek Cypriots. 

"And we kept that attitude during the talks in Mont Pelerin and Geneva. But the attitude the Greek side and Greece showed back is that they are not ready for a solution," he added.

Cavusoglu said a political solution, freedom, and security are the main principles for the reunification, but decried a Greek Cypriot move earlier this month to commemorate the idea of Enosis, or Cyprus becoming part of Greece.

"With its Enosis decision, the Greek Cypriot side showed their intention. It was really an unfortunate step concerning a solution and meaningful in terms of timing."

For a permanent solution on the island, the Greek Cypriot side should fix the mistake they made," Cavusoglu added.

On Feb. 10, the Greek Cypriot parliament voted to introduce a yearly public school commemoration of a 1950 referendum in which Greek Cypriots voted overwhelmingly for Athens to take over the island.

Akinci also said that the idea of holding an Enosis day commemoration worked against the reunification talks.

"Turkish Cypriots cannot welcome the Enosis decision," he said.

During a separate meeting with Cavusoglu, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun also criticized the Greek Cypriots’ Enosis move. 

"The negotiation process has come to a deadlock with the Enosis decision. It is a deadly blow to the talks," he said. 

The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after an Enosis-inspired 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish population, and the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.

Cypriot issue remained unsolved despite a series of discussions which resumed in May 2015.

The main goal is to find a political solution as the sides seek to reunify the island under a federal system after more than 40 years of division.

Recent UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva came to a sudden halt last week after an apparent walkout by Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades. 

The walkout was triggered when UN Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide expressed concern about the Greek Cypriot move to commemorate Enosis.

When Eide said action was needed to address this, Anastasiades “said 'there is nothing else to say', slammed the door and left,” according to Akinci.

Anastasiades said he had left the room during a break.

Next target in Syria: Raqqah

Asked about Turkey's ongoing northern Syria operation, Cavusoglu said the next target was Raqqah, a city on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River.

"Turkey's manner is quite clear. We know the area and Syria. The Syrian people are our brothers and sisters," he said. 

Cavusoglu also said the U.S. should reconsider its decision to support the PYD/YPG -- affiliated with the terrorist PKK -- in its campaign against the Daesh terror group.

Since it resumed its armed campaign in July 2015, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,100 security personnel and civilians, including women and children.

"We can take steps in Raqqah with the right groups with the right strategy, not those who want to achieve their own purposes through ethnic cleansing," the minister said.

Cavusoglu also said leaving Raqqah in the hands of the terrorist PKK/PYD would pose a serious threat to the region. 

"Involving a Shia militia in a 99 percent Sunni Arab city is dangerous. That's why [the Shia] Hashdi Shabi hasn’t entered Mosul up to today."

"Likewise, it is so dangerous to involve the PKK and YPG terror groups [in the Raqqah operation]," Cavusoglu added.

While the U.S. lists the PKK as a terrorist organization, the Obama administration viewed its affiliate PYD/YPG as a “reliable partner”. The new Trump administration’s policy has yet to emerge.

The Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield began in late August 2016 to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Şubat 2017, 09:30