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Davutoglu heading for Athens to discuss Cyprus

Venizelos (L) and Davutoglu (R) in Ankara earlier this year

By Stefanos Evripidou

TURKISH FOREIGN Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is heading to Athens next week to discuss the Cyprus problem, according to state broadcaster CyBC.

The public broadcaster reported that Davutoglu suggested a visit to discuss developments on the Cyprus problem to his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos during a NATO meeting in Brussels earlier this week.

Davutoglu’s planned visit also comes a few weeks before Greece takes over the helm of the EU Presidency on January 1, 2014, for a six-month period, giving the country a say over whether any new negotiating chapters will be opened in Turkey’s EU accession path.

The date for Davutoglu’s visit was set for next Friday, after which, according to Turkish daily Yeni Safak, the Turkish FM will visit the occupied areas the day after, on December 14.

In a recent survey conducted by Kadir Has University, and reported by Today’s Zaman, only 25 per cent of Turks currently support the Turkish government’s foreign policy, compared to 34.7 per cent in 2012.

One of the other striking findings of the poll was that 56 per cent of respondents positively view Turkey’s recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, indicating a change of perception among people in Turkey, whose government for years has argued there can be no recognition of Cyprus before a viable solution that reunifies the island.

For the survey, 1,000 people from 26 provinces were interviewed over the telephone.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris reports that US interest in the Cyprus problem has increased in recent weeks, with US ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu twice in the last three weeks, the last time on Thursday.

Koenig reportedly told a journalist after the meeting that the two men were working on the joint communiqué that has eluded the two sides so far.

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