NICOSIA – Repeating the party line of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has usurped him, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has also called for a two-state solution in Cyprus.
The country has been divided since an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974 and its northern third remains occupied by a standing Turkish army. Four decades of reunification talks have not progressed a single inch but the United Nations, which has failed so far, is taking another crack at it.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, zealous for a settlement on his watch, has already extended concessions to his Turkish counterpart Dervis Eroglu, who rebuffed him and has stood by Ankara’s hard line that there will be solution without the Cypriot side giving in more.
Erdogan’s call for Cyprus to remain divided, but for the Turkish side to be recognized by the rest of the world apart from Turkey had irked officials in Athens and Nicosia.
Asked whether Cyprus should become a federation, the solution outlined in UN resolutions, or a confederation of two states, Davutoglu said that the two-state solution was clearly laid out in the joint statement signed recently between the two sides.
“What we want is what both sides have agreed on and it is what Turkey has backed. The document is clear,” he said.
Davutoglu’s visit to the Turkish-Cypriot breakaway state coincided with the resumption of peace talks under the UN’s new special adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, who had a working dinner with Anastasiades and Eroglu.
Davutoglu, after a visit to the occupied territory, suggested that Greek Premier Antonis Samaras should join him there for peace talks but Athens dismissed his comment.
“If the Prime Minister is ready, let’s go to the south together, let’s drink tea and discuss matters,” Davutoglu said during a news conference. “Then, let’s go to the north together. Let’s establish peace here together.”
The Greek Foreign Ministry said it supported the peace talks being overseen by the UN.
“It rests with Turkey to contribute to the achievement of a solution by taking substantial initiatives that concern the core of the problem: the existence of occupation forces; failure to respect, on its part, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights; ongoing settlement; and the counterproductive stance the Turkish-Cypriot side has maintained thus far in the intercommunal talks,” said spokesman Constantinos Koutras.