Turkish and Greek Cypriot officials will be heading to Athens and Ankara for historic visits in the upcoming weeks ahead of scheduled talks. ‘There is a new window of oppurtunity for peace’ says Foreign Minister Davutoğlu despite the slow pace of progress on the issue
Davutoğlu said new forms of interactions would take place between Turkey and Greece in order to contributed to the dialogue. The foreign minister has previously turned down an offer from the Greek Cypriot administration back in September.
Representatives of Greek
Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus will visit Athens and Ankara
in a couple of weeks, the first time in nearly 50 years. So that, psychological barriers will be crossed, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
Citing that negotiators of the Greek
and Turkish Cypriots had a preparatory meeting on Oct. 9, leaders of Greek
Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus will have a meeting on Nov. 4 to discuss the solution process regarding the island, Davutoğlu said at a press conference on Oct. 9, with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Özdil Nami.
There is a new window of opportunity for peace,” Davutoğlu said regarding the new round of talks. Postponing the solution process has caused unnecessary tensions, the minister stated. “Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have been serious about this process, but the same commitment has not been shown by the Greek
side,” he added.
There will be other formats of interaction between parties in order to contribute to the dialogue Davutoğlu said, adding that he has offered the Greek
foreign minister to visit both the north and south of the island together.
Nami, in his part, said their target for a new round of Cyprus talks is to finish negotiations by the end of the year and hold a referendum in March. “Both sides should prepare their own peace plans before the end of the year and they should get their respective peoples discuss these plans and vote for them in a referendum. This issue cannot be allowed to linger on. Otherwise, the world should come up with a different answer,” Nami stated.
Following his talks with Davutoğlu, Turkish Cypriot minister briefed members of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission concerning latest developments on the Cyprus issue. He was optimistic for a comprehensive solution for next year, he told the deputies.
Turkish and Greek
ministers recently agreed on “indirect quartet meetings” of Greek
Cypriot representatives in Ankara, and Turkish Cypriot representatives in Athens.
Citing his recent talks with Greek
Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos during the U.N. General Assembly meeting last month in New York, Davutoğlu said Turkish and Greek
negotiators agreed on reciprocal meetings in each other’s capitals.September talks
Back in September, the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
turned down a proposal from the Greek
Cypriot administration regarding the closed city of Varosha (Maraş), which was handed over by the U.N. envoy to Cyprus’s Alexander Downer.
Varosha was not on the agenda of the Turkish side, and it could only be a part of the ultimate solution of the Cyprus dispute, Davutoğlu said at a meeting with Downer yesterday, a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The proposal, put forward by the Greek
Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis, has been raised several times before and involves the Turkish side handing back Famagusta’s Varosha suburb to Greek
Cypriots in exchange for some Greek
Cypriot confidence building offers to Turkish Cypriots. Downer then said the talks would commence in October. The U.N. envoy has also voiced hopes that the talks will end in a couple of months, which Ankara
also welcomed, according to the Turkish diplomat.
“Neither we, nor the U.N. want the talks be open-ended,” said the diplomat, “But bringing a deadline to the negotiations is not on the table, since the Greek
side rejects such a timetable.”