Ömer BİLGE NICOSIA / Hürriyet
Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu has said he has the political will to solve the decades-long Cyprus problem by the end of this year.
“I have the political will for the solution. We will see if they [Greek Cypriots] have it or not,” Eroğlu told daily Hürriyet in Nicosia yesterday. His message came right after his counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, called on the Turkish side to trust him on a solution.
Eroğlu said both sides had the advantage of having a rightist and a nationalist leader and that the signatures of both sides would produce a “double yes.”
“I have no suspicion that Turkish Cypriots will approve my signature and I want to believe that Anastasiades’ signature will also be embraced by Greek
Cypriots. But if Anastasiades follows the thesis of ‘We have nothing to give. They [Turks] should be the ones giving’ of Greek
Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos II, we cannot reach an agreement,” he said, adding that a give-and-take process should be started.
The president said there would be no solution if Greek
Cypriots want to continue the process according to the conditions before 1974, when Turkey intervened to protect Turkish Cypriots. A second round of cross talks by negotiators from each side of Cyprus is planned to occur before the end of the month, Eroğlu said.
Negotiators Andreas Mavroyiannis for the Greek
Cypriots and Kudret Özersay for the Turkish Cypriots made simultaneous visits to Ankara
and Athens in February, respectively, for the first time in 55 years since the Cyprus talks started.
Eroğlu said the negotiations had been ongoing for decades and that there was no topic left to be discussed, suggesting a solution could be reached by the year’s end. “We will see their real thoughts. Our aim for a solution is the end of 2014 but Anastasiades mentioned the end of 2015 in a speech in Brussels,” he said.
After an almost two-year-long hiatus, Turkish Cypriot and Greek
Cypriot leaders held their first meeting in early February, issuing a joint declaration outlining the way forward for a solution to the crisis that has gripped the island for half a century.