Turkey says Cyprus talks can not go on forever

July 20, 2009, Monday/ 15:10:00
Turkish government spokesman Cemil Çiçek said Monday that Cyprus talks can not continue for ever, adding that a comprehensive solution can be reached within this year.

"Everybody should understand that current window of opportunity can not remain open for ever," Turkish State Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Çiçek told a ceremony held in Lefkosa to mark the 35th anniversary of July 20 Peace and Freedom Day.

Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides re-launched peace talks in September 2008, aimed at finding a lasting solution to the division in the island.

Any agreement between the Cyprus leaders to reunify the island would be submitted to vote in Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities. In 2004, a UN-sponsored peace plan was turned down by the Greek Cypriots in a twin referendum which was accepted by Turkish Cypriots. The promise made by EU foreign ministers before the referendums to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and establish direct trade with northern Cyprus still remains unfulfilled.

Turkey repeatedly said that Cyprus problem should not be used against it as a tool to block membership negotiations with European Union.

Çiçek told the ceremony that Turkey will never be in a dilemma of "either Cyprus or the EU".

"We, as the motherland and the guarantor country, are pursuing a solution-oriented policy together with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," Çiçek said.

"Nobody should dare to gain something by the help of delay tactics," he added.

Çiçek also reiterated that a solution in the island should be a bicommunal partnership based on UN parameters including political equality and two founder states.

"Turkey's active and actual guarantor status will go on," he said.

There are two different states, two different communities and two different democracies in the island, he said, adding that a permanent peace could only be build on these facts.

Çiçek also stated that isolation of Turkish Cypriots should be ended as soon as possible and urged EU leaders to keep their words that were given right after 2004 twin referendums.

Gaining independence from the UK in 1960, Cyprus became a bi-communal republic where Greek and Turkish Cypriot constituent communities would share power guaranteed by the UK, Turkey and Greece.

However, reluctant to share power and pursuing a policy of Enosis (Union) with Greece, Greek Cypriots soon expelled Turkish Cypriots from power and terrorised and ghettoised them.

An Athens-backed Greek Cypriot military coup on the island that culminated decades long armed attacks on the defenseless Turkish Cypriots in 1974 led to Turkey's military intervention on July 20, 1974 and the island's eventual split into Turkish and Greek Cypriot parts.

Although the Republic of Cyprus as described in the 1959 agreements is no longer there, Greek Cypriots continue to enjoy this title and international recognition while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a fully democratic government representing Turkish Cypriots, still suffers under an unfair political and economic blockade.