Turkey says ready to hit ‘reset' button for Cyprus solution

Turkey's Minister for European Affairs and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bağış. (Photo: AA, Yunus Kaymaz)

February 25, 2013, Monday/ 17:09:00

EU Minister Egemen Bağış has stated that Turkey has always been ready to hit the reset button and revitalize the political process to find a solution to the divided island of Cyprus. He also stated the recent change in leadership of Greek Cyprus could be a new opportunity for such an initiative.

Center-right politician Nicos Anastasiades, who voted in favor of the 2004 Annan plan, has won the presidential election in Greek Cyprus with a 58 percent majority.

“Every election is a new beginning. I believe that this new beginning should bring an opportunity to open the door slightly to a solution. We are ready to hit the reset button for a solution in Cyprus,” Bağış said.

To this end, the EU minister stated that Turkey's first suggestion to the newly elected president is to get together with his counterparts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). “After coming together with [KKTC] Prime Minister İrsen Küçük and President Derviş Eroğlu, if he would like to come to İstanbul with the KKTC politicians, our invitation to dine at a table overlooking the Bosporus still stands. We would be honored to host the elected leaders of the island all together,” Bağış maintained.

Bağış emphasized that if there would be permanent unification of the island; the Cypriot people would be able to elect a “genuine” president of the would-be “united Cyprus.”

“The Greek Cypriots did not elect a state leader; this election was to elect a leader for their community. It is our hope that there will be permanent unification of the island and that a united Cyprus would have a legitimate president,” Bağış remarked.

Noting Anastasiades' support of the Annan peace plan for Cyprus in 2004 as an example of him having made the “right” decision in the past, Bağış stated that his same will to do what is right will have a positive effect on a political solution of the long-term problem.

“[Having elected a leader who supported the Annan plan,] if is possible the Greek Cypriot side will not to inflict its political will on other circles [which would not help with a solution.] Turning this possibility into an opportunity is only possible if a move is made towards the resolution of the Cyprus issue,” Bağış claimed.

Bağış also maintained that those who think the KKTC will pay for the delay in arriving at a political solution are wrong, stating that the KKTC is the stronger side, politically and economically, notably because it has always sided with the need for a solution.

Meanwhile, as Turkey states its readiness for a new start towards the solution of the Cyprus question, Peter Stano, spokesperson for the office of EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Füle, stated the EU Commission's readiness “to support the re-launch of talks between both communities [Turkish and Greek Cypriots] which take place under UN auspices.”

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