Ankara open to alternatives on Cyprus issue

Published 05.04.2019 00:15

A federal solution should not be the only alternative for the Cyprus issue and all alternatives should be on the table, Turkey's Ambassador to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ali Murat Başçeri said in an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA).

Turkey is open to alternative models for a resolution of the Cyprus issue, Başçeri said and added that Ankara did not reject a federal solution. "However, it should not be the only goal. All alternatives should be on the table," Başçeri said. Following a coup aiming to annex Cyprus for Greece, Ankara was forced to intervene on the island in 1974 as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece, and the U.K., ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

Başçeri added that everyone had to think creatively to find fresh approaches to put an end to the dispute. "As the Turkish side, we are considering and evaluating all kinds of alternatives on this issue," Başçeri said.

Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and the three guarantor countries must share a common vision for the island's future, he added. Başçeri underlined that Ankara and Lefkosa did their part in resolving the issue of Cyprus when the Annan Plan was voted on in a referendum in 2004 as well as during the Crans-Montana negotiations in 2017.

In 2004, a plan of then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in dual referendums held on both sides of the island.

Talks have focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots' rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, has led to the emergence of other models. In a recent report, current U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said "new ideas" may be needed for a settlement on the island.

Başçeri said the natural resources around Cyprus were a source of wealth for the entire island. Characterizing them as a game-changer, he said they would facilitate a positive resolution to the current state of affairs if they were attributed to all parts of the island. If not, their effect would be negative, Başçeri added.

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