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Cyprus Talks

Cavusoglu: Turkey open to alternative solutions

File photo: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pictured with President Anastasiades in Crans Montana

By Evie Andreou

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that before a new round of talks is launched, it must be decided which type of solution is being sought, adding that Turkey was open to alternatives.

In an interview with Anadolu News Agency, published on Tuesday, Cavusoglu said that Turkey is not “obsessed” with discussing only one type of solution or system as regards the settlement of the Cyprus problem, but warned that this was the last chance for a federation-based solution.

Cavusoglu said that prior to a new round of talks, a decision must be made on whether the sought solution would be on the basis of a federation, confederation, a two-state solution or another system.

“We are not ruling out any alternative,” he said, adding that Turkish officials travelled to the north twice toward that end and met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the ‘prime-minister’ and political parties and agreed that some preparations should be made.

Cavusoglu observed that, unfortunately, some groups in the north that are hostile to Turkey, engage in “petty politics”.

The Turkish foreign minister called on Greece to open a communication channel with Turkish Cypriots, to see what they want and what their thoughts are. The government confirmed that President, Nicos Anastasiades, had an informal meeting with Cavusoglu while in New York last month for the UN General Assembly.

On the report of the UN Secretary-General on the prospect of relaunching a new round of talks, Cavusoglu said that the UN will not launch a new procedure just for the sake of it and that the two sides must agree on what they would like to discuss.

He said that this was the goal of Turkey’s informal contacts and that his country could not accept yet another failure.

“That is why, if there is a negotiation, it must be focused on the solution, its context must be known, and we must now achieve a result,” he said.

Cavusoglu added that these are the last negotiations for a federation and that is what he told the UN.

He said that the Greek Cypriot side will not take any steps until after the European Parliament elections of next May and that one of the guarantor powers, the UK, is tied up with the Brexit negotiations.

“During this period, I believe, informal consultations are beneficial to everyone,” he said.

Cavusoglu’s statements follow the recent proposal by Anastasiades on a ‘loose federation’ concerning the powers of the central government. The government said that this aimed at giving the talks a boost.

The government had also shot down claims that it was toying with the idea of a confederation. Foreign Minister, Nicos Christodoulides, had said last week that to have a confederation the Republic of Cyprus must recognise the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ and that would never happen.

Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay, however, already said that his community does not accept a ‘loose federation’ as a way of reunifying the island, maintaining that that the reason the talks collapsed last year was the Greek Cypriots’ refusal to share power and natural resources and not the guarantees.