Turkey will not step back on security matters or its guarantor state status before the Turkish Cypriot community's status on the island is guaranteed, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said yesterday.
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Kurtulmuş said reshaping borders can only be discussed within the frame of Turkey's approach to guarantees and security matters.
Last week, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey is flexible in the Cyprus negotiations but will not abandon its main principles. He also called on Greece and Greek Cyprus to develop "acceptable approaches."
"We said that the guarantor state system is irrevocable for both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus. However, we came here to discuss these issues in more detail, so we show as much flexibility as we can. However, our main principles cannot be abandoned," he said.
Turkish Cyprus, Greek Cyprus and representatives from guarantor countries started negotiations last week to solve the long-standing dispute on the divided island in the Alpine resort of Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
The U.N. is seeking a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal system, which could also define the future of Europe's relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict.
This latest round of Cyprus talks are expected to continue for about a week.
The last attempt to resolve the crisis ended in failure in 2004 after Greek Cypriot voters rejected the U.N.-backed Annan Plan in a referendum.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor state.
Ankara has maintained a military presence on the island ever since to safeguard the Turkish Cypriot community.
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