Turkey responds to Greek Cypriot leader's remarks that new Ankara gov't may affect Cyprus talks

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 13.06.2015 00:19

Turkey has repsonded Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades' recent remarks that a new Turkish government may "directly affect" the Cyprus peace talks and advised him to focus on finding a comprehensive solution for the island.

"We are astounded by the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades' remarks in Turkish media which attempt to relate the peace process towards finding a comprehensive solution for the dispute in the island with the formation of a new government in Turkey," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

"The Greek Cypriot leader must first and foremost seize the current opportunity to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute, and focus on concluding the negotiations held with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı within the framework of the goodwill mission of the UN general-secretary," the statement read.

"We consider this attempt to question Turkey's commitment to finding a fair, permanent and viable solution to the Cyprus issue an intentional tactical maneuver," the statement said, adding that Turkey would continue to duly perform its international commitments as it always had, and keep contributing to efforts towards resolving the Cyprus issue "at the earliest," and "making the island and East Mediterranean a region of peace, stability and cooperation."

The statement came after Anastasiades' interview with Turkish daily Hürriyet Friday, in which he said that "depending on who is going to form the coalition government in Turkey, or whether there is going to be a new election, I think the situation will affect Cyprus".

"I do not want to make any comments on the internal situation in Turkey. All I can say is that, as Cypriots, knowing that a key element of the decision-making is in Ankara, the situation is definitely dependent on the government that is in power and how helpful it might be," Greek leader added.

Political tensions in the long-divided island have eased since full-fledged talks resumed on May 15, and the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders agreed May 28 on a five-step plan to resolve the Cyprus issue.

On May 28, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades met at the UN's Good Office on the island, hosted by UN Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide. During their talks, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders agreed on a five-step plan to resolve the Cyprus issue.

The steps included opening more crossing points, interconnecting the power grids, allowing mobile phone interoperability on both sides of the island, resolving the issue of radio frequency conflicts, and forming a joint committee on gender equality on Cyprus.

The Greek Cypriot administration had unilaterally suspended the talks last October after Turkey issued an advisory on behalf of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for seismic research off the coast of Cyprus.

The island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern third and a Greek Cypriot administration in the southern two-thirds after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by a peace operation by Turkey as a guarantor state in Cyprus.

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