An improvement in Greece-Turkey relations could also help efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with the Greek newspaper Ethnos tis Kyriakis published on Sunday.
If re-elected, Anastasiades said he would continue his efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
The forthcoming visit of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to Greece may prove helpful for improving relations, he said. Erdogan will visit Athens at the end of this month or at the beginning of December.
At the same time, good preparation was necessary before a new Conference on Cyprus was convened so that a new deadlock was avoided, said the president. He repeated that the key to was Turkey’s position, especially on issues of security and guarantees.
“My hope and expectation is that President Erdogan has among the key objectives of his visit to Athens the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, the full normalization of which, as repeatedly stressed by the Greek Government, goes through a settlement of the Cyprus problem,” Anastasiades said.
There could be a settlement if Turkey changed its approach to the Cyprus issue, in particular on security and guarantees which he cited as the cause of the collapse of the conference in Crans-Montana.
“Until the last day of my current term, I am ready and willing to take the boldest decisions in order to put an end to the unacceptable status quo, to resolve the Cyprus problem and to reunite my country. I wish there was a response from Turkey,” Anastasiades said.
He dismissed claims, mainly by the Turkish side, that next year’s presidential elections were an obstacle to decisions being taken on the Cyprus problem. This was never the case, he said.
“The obstacle is Turkey, which, at the crucial moment, was unprepared to make those moves on security issues, that is, on the issue of the guarantees and the withdrawal of the troops. If I am re-elected, I will certainly continue my efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue,” he said.
The solution of the Cyprus problem depended on Turkey’s willingness to take the necessary step on security issues.
“It is for this reason that I insist that proper preparation must precede any convening of the Cyprus Conference, so that we will not find ourselves again at the point where we were at Crans-Montana,” he said. “I hope that the upcoming meeting of the Greek Prime Minister with the Turkish President in Athens, in which the Cyprus issue will surely be discussed, will also work as a preparation, which will start a dialogue that I hope will create conditions that will allow a new conference to be convened”.