Turkey eyes Bürgenstock model for talks on Cyprus
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Greek Cypriot leader President Christofias (2nd R) offers a flower to Meral Eroğlu, wife of Turkish Cypriot leader Eroğlu (2nd L), at a meeting in the mixed community village of Pyla on Jan 5. Turkey plans to hold Bürgenstock style talks for Cyprus. REUTERS photo
Turkey wants a conference modeled on the Bürgenstock talks to be organized by March to discuss the Cyprus issue, a Turkish diplomatic source said, after the Cypriot leaders gather Jan. 22 to 24 in New York under the auspices of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“The Jan. 22 to 24 meeting and the follow-up process should be perceived as a turning point [on the Cyprus issue]. It’s a good opportunity if a constructive role is played and if aimed toward resolution,” Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, who is responsible for relations with Turkish Cyprus, told a group of journalists yesterday.
If the January meeting of Cyprus leaders paved the way for a higher level meeting such as an international conference with the participation of guarantor states, then there could be relief in the talks, Atalay said.
Northern Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias are expected to hold a trilateral meeting with Ban at Greentree, New York, at the end of the month.
“We cannot go on this way. Considering Cyprus is going to take the presidency of the European Union from July 1, then there is not much time left,” Ban said Jan. 7.
“From now on our aim is to schedule a high-level meeting at the latest in March. The U.N. secretary-general also admits the need for a gathering as we did in Bürgenstock,” a diplomatic source said. The model could be with participation of four parties or five, including Cyprus leaders and Turkey, Greece and Britain as guarantor countries.
Ankara prefers the EU’s role in the conference to be limited as it was in the Bürgenstock talks in 2004, with a representation of an EU commissioner for consultations, the source said.
The Bürgenstock talks were held at the end of March 2004 in an attempt to get the Cypriot leaders to agree on the Annan Plan. The talks included Greece and Turkey, as well as the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.