Unification negotiations with Turkish Cypriots to begin soon, Ankara says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 10.10.2017 00:00

Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ said that Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will soon start unification talks after Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu recently hinted at the possibility in the wake of failed talks with Greek Cyprus side.

In an interview published on Monday with the Turkish Milliyet daily, Akdağ said: "Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will henceforth decide on a political solution."

Ertuğruloğlu previously signaled that Turkish Cyprus has two options, to be recognized or unify with Turkey, saying: "It is now time to start to work to be recognized in the international area. Turkish Cypriots are also assessing a second option, which is establishing an autonomous state under Turkey similar to the France-Monaco and England-Gibraltar models."

Commenting on Ertuğruloğlu's remarks, Akdağ said that Ertuğruloğlu put forward a possibility, adding that negotiations would be shaped according to this.

Following the failure of Cyprus reunification talks, Ertuğruloğlu said in early October that Turkish Cyprus conveyed a message to the U.N. that if there are negotiations on the Cyprus issue in the forthcoming period, it will only work if they are state-to-state negotiations, adding that in case of negotiations, Turkish Cyprus will not negotiate anything except for a "confederation model."

Akdağ also touched on Turkey's water delivery to Turkish Cyprus, saying that the delivery of water to Turkish Cyprus will continue without a cut off. Akdağ said that Turkish Cypriot citizens warmly thanked Turkey. He also said that Turkey has been delivering 75 million cubic meters of water to Turkish Cyprus, 35 million of which is consumed by Turkish Cypriots while the remaining part is used in irrigation. He said that the infrastructure of municipalities in Turkish Cyprus must be improved to render the delivery affective.

Akdağ added that Turkey could deliver water to the Greek Cyprus if the government wants to make a deal. "Their water is not good either. In case of a solution, why not," he said. Explaining that there is an electricity delivery project as well, Akdağ said that in case of a solution, Turkey could also take delivery of electricity from Turkey to Greek Cyprus into account.

Talks aimed at ending the four-decade Cyprus conflict closed without reaching an agreement, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on July 7, after a stormy final session of talks that ran into the early hours.

The U.N. is seeking a peace deal to reunite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe's relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict.

A U.N.-brokered peace deal was approved by Turkish Cypriots in 2004, but was rejected by Greek Cypriot voters 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 Turkish community and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

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