Turkey, Turkish Cyprus ready for talks but no conditions accepted: Minister

Turkey, Turkish Cyprus ready for talks but no conditions accepted: Minister

Turkey, Turkish Cyprus ready for talks but no conditions accepted: Minister

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Turkey and Turkish Cyprus have a “positive stance” on resuscitating the hampered talks with Greek Cyprus on unifying the island and are ready to meet for a conference in Geneva on the subject, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in Nicosia at a joint press conference with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı on June 1. 

“The Turkish side and Turkey is ready to go to Geneva or the Cyprus Conference, but only without any preconditions,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that Ankara expects that “the Greek side and international companies” to stop “ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey” regarding natural resources of off the divided island. 

“This is harming the potential of economic cooperation that could lead to a comprehensive resolution on the island,” he said. 

Çavuşoğlu’s remarks came one day after the United Nations announced that rival Cypriot leaders will meet U.N. chief Antonio Guterres in New York over the weekend in a bid to resolve the deadlock in reunification talks.

“The secretary general today invited Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to New York for a joint meeting,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. chief.

“Both leaders have accepted his invitation. The secretary general looks forward to welcoming the leaders, together with his special adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide,” on June 4, Dujarric said in a statement on his website. 

A U.N. drive to hold a crunch Cyprus peace conference in Geneva collapsed last week, leaving the future of two years of talks on reunifying the island in limbo.

Eide has since travelled to Athens and Ankara to try to rescue the peace process. 

It was agreed that talks on Cyprus could go no further and only an international conference involving the three guarantors of the island’s sovereignty - Britain, Greece and Turkey - could achieve real progress.

A previous conference involving the guarantor powers in Geneva in January failed to agree on a post-peace security strategy.

The U.N.-backed talks seek to reunite Cyprus under a federal roof.

Anastasiades and Akıncı remain at loggerheads over core issues such as power sharing, territorial adjustments, security arrangements and property rights. Anastasiades faces re-election in February, a factor complicating the talks process.

The Greek Cypriot government’s drive to explore for offshore oil and gas has also clouded the negotiations, with Ankara calling for it to be halted until a settlement has been reached.

The two sides have been engaged in fragile peace talks since May 2015 that observers see as the best chance in years to reunify the island.

Much of the progress until now has been based on the strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But in recent months there has been a negative climate of blame and mistrust.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops intervened in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.