Greek Cyprus head ‘missed peace call’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Egemen Bağış has unofficially invited Christofias to Istanbul for a game. AA photoGreek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias’ refusal of an offer to watch a football match together with European Union Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış is actually a loss for the Greek Cypriot leader himself, Bağış has said.
“He couldn’t see the positive image it would convey to world; and to Greek and Turkish Cypriots,” Bağış, who is also Turkey’s chief negotiator in its EU membership negotiations, said yesterday, responding to reporters’ questions as he received the mayor of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, Asım Güzelbey.Turkish soccer team Fenerbahçe will play Greek Cypriot club AEL Limassol in the Europa League. Bağış had unofficially invited Christofias to İstanbul -- albeit with one condition: “He must sit at the same table with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Derviş Eroğlu.” The game is scheduled for Nov. 8, 2012. Last week Christofias’ spokesperson issued a written statement declaring Bağış’s invitation “far from serious.”
“It was a sincere invitation. It was based on the idea that important messages could be delivered via sports, because it is an antidote to any discrimination,” Bağış said, adding that the Greek Cypriot government had formerly refused all of Turkey’s comprehensive and sustainable offers regarding the island. Bağış also made it clear that he would not run as a candidate for mayor of İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality on his own initiative.