Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was due in the north on Tuesday ahead of a dinner between the two Cypriot leaders in the evening, and on the eve of the resumption of talks under the UN’s new Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide.
Prior to his departure from Ankara on Tuesday, Davutoglu gave a news conference and said his visit to the north had a “high symbolic importance” and was an expression of support to the independence of the ‘TRNC’.
Noting that it would be his first visit to the north as Turkey’s prime minister – he was formerly the foreign minister – Davutoglu said he would be briefed on the talks by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
Davutoglu said that in the early stages of the current negotiations process, he had visited the north many times as foreign minister to try and help accelerate the process.
“Because of the importance which the Cyprus problem has in the EU process for both sectors of Cyprus and for the Eastern Mediterranean, including the relations between Turkey and Greece, and for the UN, which is dealing with the big crises in the world, we will make a strong call for the solution of the Cyprus problem,” he said.
He said 2004 had been the closest ever for a Cyprus solution “with the extremely positive stance of Turkey and the TRNC”.
“Unfortunately, because the Greek Cypriot sector said ‘no’ to the UN plan and that crisis has lasted until today,” he added.
Davutoglu also referred to the economic help Turkey provided consistently to the ‘TRNC’.