Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who was in the north on Wednesday for as round of talks, pledged Ankara’s support to Turkish Cypriots for the settlement negotiations in Cyprus.
Cavusoglu, who arrived in the north on Tuesday night, met earlier in the day with ‘prime minister’ Huseyin Ozgurgun and with Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci later in the afternoon.
Following his meeting with Akinci, Cavusoglu said that Turkey would continue to do its best to to support the negotiations for a fair and lasting solution for the Turkish Cypriots within the framework of the February 11 joint statement of the two sides, issued in 2014.
He added that there were difficult issues, such as property, territory, and guarantees. Some of them, he said, will be discussed in a five-party meeting. It would be useful, Cavusoglu said, to exchange ideas on these issues on an unofficial level, as was the case when he met his Greek counterpart Nicos Kotzias in Crete and Istanbul.
“We missed an opportunity in 2004 (Annan Plan). Let’s not miss this one as well,” Cavusoglu said.
Akinci said there has been great progress so far but obstacles remain. There is still long way to go to reach a result, he said.
“With good will, and political determination we are getting there. We set 2016 as the year of the settlement. We want to reach a solution by the end of 2016,” Akinci said. He added that Turkey supported this goal until the end.
The Turkish Cypriot leader criticised the Greek Cypriot side for proceeding with the hydrocarbon exploration programme, and he called for abstention from behaviours that could make things more difficult into achieving this goal.
As an example, he said, was the hurried decision for natural gas explorations. It was not right he said, for steps to be taken that would jeopardise the process. There should be instead, Akinci said, a joint planning to share this common wealth.
“I think it is wrong to think instead of the (negotiations) process to do the calculations for the next election,” Akinci said.