Ankara aims to bring peace to Cyprus, says Turkish FM
ANKARA – Anadolu AgencyTurkey’s vision for Cyprus is to turn the island into a bastion of peace and stability, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in an opinion piece in the Washington Times published on March 21.
The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, after Turkish troops intervened in response to a coup by Greek Cypriot militants seeking union with Greece.
“My government’s vision for its future involves transforming the island into a bastion of peace, stability, cooperation and economic prosperity,” said Çavuşoğlu in the piece titled “Turkey’s vision for Cyprus.”
He said he acknowledged the complexity of the Cyprus issue, as talks of reunification have recently stalled.
The reunification talks - brokered by U.N. Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide - were launched in May 2015 to discuss a permanent settlement for the island.
Çavuşoğlu put forth Ankara’s idea of a solution. “The two sides on the island must be politically equal; one side cannot dominate the other or incorporate it as a mere minority. Power has to be shared in a bi-zonal, bi-communal partnership,” he said.
“Safeguards will be put in place to prevent any recurrence of the tragic events of the past,” he added, pointing out to the “traumatic experiences” suffered by the Turkish Cypriots at the hands of their Greek counterparts in the 1960s and 1970s.
Çavuşoğlu said the main cause of the suspension of the talks stemmed from the Greek Cypriot parliament’s recent approval to introduce a yearly public school commemoration of a 1950 referendum, in which Greek Cypriots voted overwhelmingly for Athens to take over the island, an idea known as Enosis (Union).
“The Greek Cypriots have much to gain if common sense prevails among them. A settlement will bring with it Turkey’s friendship and cooperation, from which Cyprus as a whole will benefit,” he added.
“There will be no losers here; it will be a textbook case of a win-win situation,” he added, citing a promise to supply water to the island, new opportunities in hydrocarbon resources exploration and the creation of new shipping routes.
He said the two sides must be politically equal and power has to be shared in a bi-zonal and bi-communal partnership on the island.
“The time has come to go the extra mile, which is the hardest mile of all,” he said.