EUROPE > Greek Cyprus crisis is chance to end division, says Turkish President Gül

VILNIUS - Reuters

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Turkish President Abdullah Gül walks past an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony in Vilnius. AFP photo

Turkish President Abdullah Gül walks past an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony in Vilnius. AFP photo

The financial crisis in Greek Cyprus presents an "important opportunity" to end the division of the island, split between the Greek Cypriot south and Turkish north, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said April 3.

The Mediterranean island concluded a 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout deal with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 2 in order to stave off bankruptcy. 

"There is at the moment significant economic crisis on the island. This should be seen as important opportunity ... Because if the island were to unite, there would be a greater economic potential," Gül said during an official visit to Lithuania.

"There are some restrictions, embargoes on the island. Our suggestion is to lift any and all kinds of restrictions or embargoes simultaneously so that we can create a new climate for moving forward," he said. "I hope that this message will be well understood."

Turkey's failure to extend a customs agreement with the European Union by opening its ports to goods from Cyprus has hindered the EU accession talks.

Relations between Greece and Turkey have thawed over the years, making a resolution more imaginable than in the past.

Beset by economic crisis at home, Greece last month pledged to double annual trade with its eastern neighbour to $10 billion by 2015. 

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Istanbul last month and signed deals on issues ranging from agriculture to disaster relief.

Gül said the potential for cooperation between Turkey and Greece made the possible benefits of Cypriot reunification even greater.


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Chris Green

4/7/2013 4:30:51 PM

Greek intellect! Goodness me, if this is linked with the Greek take on common sense then they are a dull breed indeed! As for the Greek economy, the next Ice Age will roughly coincide with any thaw in the permafrost of both Greek and GC economic woes all of which are entirely of their own making due to political and social profligacy. The President knows very well that unification will never happen and neither will even a single uniformed 'Mehmet' be leaving Turkish Cyprus any time soon!


4/6/2013 6:45:40 AM

When I was a kid, Makarios meant number two! Their hate and prejudice is fed constantly by these bearded ones.

True Turk

4/4/2013 10:54:52 PM

The mindset of The Greeks will never allow them to reconcile with the Turks. Their church preaches hate towards the Turks, their army marching song is; "The only good Turk is a dead Turk." Makarios and Grivas's political ethos was the cleansing of Turks from Cyprus and even the near current politicians like Papadopoulos shed tears on TV and begged Greeks not to accept peace with the Turks. But, do you know something? I would also rather slit my wrist rather than live near a Greek.

ismail demir

4/4/2013 6:26:31 PM

It is wrong for Turkish politicians constantly mention unification in Cyprus if we think of past experiences.Greeks have no intention to obey 1960 constitution.Reunification is harmfull for Turks.


4/4/2013 4:52:11 PM

The Cyprus issue can only be solved if all countries recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as equal counterpart of the Greek occupied puppet state South Cyprus. The only solution being accepted by the Turkish Cypriots is also a two state solution, since an overwhelming majority of the Turkish Cypriots don't want to live together with Greeks and totally not as 2nd class citizen of the Greeks. It is time that the West keep their promise and do what they promised and recognize the TRNC


4/4/2013 3:48:12 PM

The Greek Cypriots have not abandoned their quest towards the island's reunification despite the rejection of the unconstitutional Annan plan. Mr. Gul's suggestion that such reunion would benefit both sides is indeed true and non debatable. What is debatable, is that the economic crisis will backbench the democratic principles based on which such reunification may be achieved. Also, Mr. Anastasiades has indeed publicly avered his willingness toward the continuation of these negotiations. Regards

ender bilici

4/4/2013 12:05:25 PM

# Andreas Georghiou coz greek cypriots voted against UN plans..Turks voted in favor of unified island on the other hand; greeks chose partition of Cyprus......ENOSIS and EEZ evidence of your intention...

Not Here

4/4/2013 10:45:31 AM

I have to agree that thinking this is the time to end division due to their economic crisis is not too diplomatic and maybe more opportunistic. Thinking that people will agree to something because they are down and out will not end any division but maybe make it worse. Yes, they might agree to something now, but how long before the subject is brought up again?

herosaint Sag

4/4/2013 10:36:36 AM

Niko.. I hope you are right and Greeks will be more than happy to answer Turkish calls when the economic crisis would end up. I hope there will be no other Annan Plan fiasco for the sake of membership to any other international "crisis oriented" organization..

john albay

4/4/2013 7:38:33 AM

@Niko Labes. dont worry your so called greek intellect because we Turkish cypriots dont wish to have anything to do with the 2 Bankrupt greek states (greece and greek occupied cyprus) Where was your human dignity when you greeks were busy killing us Turkish cypriots to get ENOSIS? What about the terrorist sampson and EOKA B you forgotten that as well? Is that your greek human dignity and intellect?
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