Reunify Cyprus main objective, Bağış says

Reunify Cyprus main objective, Bağış says

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Reunify Cyprus main objective, Bağış says

Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış (R) holds a press confence with EU commissioner Stefan Füle (L) in this file photo. AFP Photo

Turkey’s “main objective” is to reunify Cyprus as soon as possible, but northern Cyprus would not be abandoned if the solution efforts failed, Turkey’s EU minister said.

“Our goal is a solution in Cyprus on which both parties agree, and a United Cyprus assuming the EU presidency term in July [2012]. But if a solution is not reached, then all alternatives are open for assessment,” EU Minister Egemen Bağış told Anatolia news agency yesterday, denying Turkey was drawing up a new policy on Cyprus.

His earlier remarks had been taken out of context, Bağış said, but reiterated that annexing northern Cyprus might be considered one of the alternatives if the settlement talks failed.

“All options [to resolve the Cyprus issue] are on table,” including a two-state solution or annexing Turkish Cyprus to Turkey, Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs quoted Bağış as saying in an interview with the paper.

No new policy on Cyprus, Bağış says

“The reporter asked if Turkish Cyprus could be annexed to Turkey, and I said it might be an alternative,” Bağış said. “We are not drawing up a new policy on Cyprus. Our main goal is to reach a solution as soon as possible. But if we can’t come to a solution, nobody should expect Turkey will leave Turkish Cypriots alone.”

European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle’s spokesman Peter Stano said the European Commission considered one solution for Cyprus: reunification of the island under a federation embracing the two communities, Anatolia news agency reported.

When Stano was asked about Bağış’s remarks, he replied the European Commission did not comment on individual’s remarks. The commission called on both sides of the island to focus their energies on reaching a solution, he said.

New decisions with Turkey

Meanwhile, Turkish Cyprus Prime Minister İrsen Küçük said Turkish Cyprus could not wait if there were a delay in the negotiations. He said if the negotiations entered a deadlock, then Turkish Cyprus would consider new decisions with Turkey. It was normal for European Union Minister Egemen Bağış to announce the options in such a case, he said.

Turkey has stationed troops in the north since intervening in 1974, after a coup in Greek Cyprus orchestrated by a military junta in Athens. Turkish Cyprus is only recognized only by Ankara and its only air link is with Turkey. It is also excluded from international sport, finance and trade, and it has been heavily subsidized by Ankara.