Turkish Cyprus willing to resume negotiations

Turkish Cyprus willing to resume negotiations

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Cyprus willing to resume negotiations

Turkish Cypriot FM Özgürgün said they would like to resume talks. AFP photo

Turkish Cypriots are willing to resume stalled reunification talks with Greek Cypriots and are waiting to see Greek Cyprus’ response to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, on launching negotiations that had been suspended in 2012before the Greek Cypriot elections.

“We’d like to resume reunification talks from where we left off. However, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades does not seem to have that intention,” Hüseyin Özgürgün, the foreign minister of Turkish Cyprus, told a group of journalists yesterday.

Downer has tested the waters with both sides and Turkish Cypriots expressed their will to restart negotiations, but Greek Cypriots have not responded yet, according to Özgürgün.

A delegation of Turkish Cypriots held talks with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials on April 3 and yesterday in order to build roadmap on the Cyprus dispute.

The roadmap could include working on a two-state solution if the Greek Cypriot side does not come closer to the negotiation table, he said, reiterating a recent statement from Ankara that underlined the possibility of a “two-state solution.”

There are already two states on the island, and “they cannot meet under the same roof” he said, adding that “a two-state solution is inevitable” at the end of the day if one of the parties avoids reunification. Anastasiades uses the economic crisis as a reason to avoid reunification talks, Özgürgün said. “The economic crisis has increased fanaticism among Greek Cypriots. The burning of the Turkish flag is an outcome of that.”

However, reunification could boost the prosperity of the island, bringing the number of tourists to more than 5 million, Özgürgün said. He noted the electricity trade between the Turkish side and the Greek side and the water transported from Turkey to the north of Cyprus, saying that the economic profitability of Cyprus would be enhanced by the cooperation of both sides.