Erdoğan, Turkish Cypriot leader urge Greek Cypriots sincere effort for peace
AA PhotoThe Turkish and Turkish Cypriot presidents refrained from publicly revisiting their recent “motherland-babyland” argument, instead focusing on the soon-to-resume reunification talks on the divided island during a joint press conference in Ankara on May 6.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and newly elected Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı said renewed peace talks between Cyprus’ estranged Turkish and Greek communities could lead to a solution this year if the Greek side shows more commitment.
“We will make efforts to make 2015 the year of a solution, but this doesn’t depend just on us,” Akıncı said.
Erdoğan said Greek Cypriots “should no longer make things difficult.”
“It is time for the Greek Cypriots to show sincere efforts as well. We will continue to encourage Greece in this regard ... If that happens, we believe it is possible for 2015 to be the year of a solution,” he added.
Erdoğan said Ankara will “stand by the president and his delegation,” citing Turkey’s water supply project to Turkish Cyprus, describing it as “the project of the century” and saying it will hopefully be completed around July or August.
The meeting was their first since Akıncı was elected on April 26, pledging fresh impetus to solve the conflict, which has split the Mediterranean island for decades. Erdoğan showed no sign of animosity towards his recently elected counterpart, just days after criticizing him for suggesting relations with Turkey should be on more equal footing.
Erdoğan had been irked by Akıncı’s remarks after the elections on how the status of the relationship between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus should change.
“It should be a relationship of brothers/sisters, not a relationship of a motherland and her child,” Akıncı had said.
“Who’s the one fighting for northern Cyprus in the international community? Does Mr. Akıncı believe he can put up this fight on his own?” Erdoğan had said at the time, adding Turkey would continue to view Turkish Cyprus as a “mother looks at its child.”
The president of Turkish Cyprus is due to meet Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on May 11 to revive peace talks, which stalled last October.