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Cavusoglu says Turkey will ‘do its part’ for a Cyprus solution (Update 2)

Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu said on Thursday Turkey would do its part to help move the Cyprus process forward but hinted that this might be the last chance for a settlement.

Cavusoglu arrived in the north on Thursday for meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leadership and left later in the afternoon.

After a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the Turkish foreign minister said that the progress made in the current Cyprus negotiations gave him hope for a settlement.

“We want to achieve a permanent and just solution that would be accepted by both sides within a specific timetable. We want to see a referendum,” he said.

The Turkish side wants to see a solution before the parliamentary elections in the south of the island next May but the Greek Cypriot side does not want a timetable.

“We should not miss this last opportunity that has been created. As Turkey will do our part,” said Cavusoglu. “Now we look ahead and see how we can contribute to the process from now on.”

Asked what he meant by “the last opportunity” Cavusoglu said negotiations in Cyprus have been going on since 1960. “Unfortunately the [2004] Annan plan could not be accepted by the Greek Cypriot side so we think this is a last chance not to be missed. It is not only us [Turkey} but the UN think that this is a last chance,” he added.

Cavusoglu said that if today Cyprus was a peaceful place it was due to Turkey’s guarantee status.  This was one of the issues that still needed to be resolved as part of the negotiations, he added but would come at a later date with the participation of the two other guarantor powers, Greece and Britain. Bringing the issue to the table at this stage would not be beneficial to the process, he added.

The Greek Cypriot side has made it clear it wants no guarantor powers under a settlement.

The Turkish foreign minister said Greece kept bringing the issue up at the present time, whereas Turkey preferred to leave guarantees for a later date.

“Instead the neighbouring and friendly country Greece, continues to bring this issue to the agenda,” he added, saying that Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias had brought it up with him “a dozen times” as had Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu during their recent meeting in Turkey.

“We believe that if they gave half the minimum contribution that Turkey gives, the process would be accelerated even more. Bringing to the agenda issues that will come on the table later is not helpful to the process,” he added.

Cavusoglu welcomed the stance of the Greek Cypriot side in the negotiations saying it was the most constructive approach he had seen for a very long time, particularly the stance shown by President Nicos Anastasiades and opposition AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou, who he said he would invite to Turkey.

In his statements, Akinci said the Turkish Cypriots were seeking a bizonal, bicommunal federation based on political equality “the soonest”. He welcomed Turkey’s support and said his greatest desire and expectation was that negotiations be concluded in the near future.

Akinci later tweeted: “Received Turkish FM @MevlutCavusoglu. Had a very constructive exchange of opinion on #CyprusProblem & #cooperation.”


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