Turkey calls on UN chief to present plan to reunify Cyprus
by Daily Sabah with Wires
ISTANBULMar 07, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with Wires
Mar 07, 2015 12:00 am
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday to come up with a plan to reunify Cyprus before he leaves his post at the end of 2016. Davutoğlu told a U.N. news conference after meeting Ban that Turkey "will do everything possible for sustainable, comprehensive peace on Cyprus." Davutoğlu recalled the peace blueprint to reunite the island drafted by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which was approved by Turkish Cypriots, but rejected by Greek Cypriots in separate referendums in April 2004.
"In 2004 we supported the Annan Plan and I suggested to Mr. Ban Ki-moon that we now need now a 'Ban Ki-moon Plan' before the end of his term to end this long-running crisis," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said. Ban's second five-year term ends on Dec. 31, 2016. Talks to reunify the Mediterranean island are currently deadlocked.
The president of Greek Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, suspended the U.N.-mediated reunification talks in October after Turkey announced plans to search for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, saying that the rights of Turkish Cypriots on the island cannot be ignored.
Davutoğlu urged Greek Cypriots to return to the negotiating table and called for an international conference "as early as possible, just as we did in 2004." Instead of aggravating the atmosphere by unilateral actions on natural resources, he said: "It is better to come around the table and discuss [the issues] in detail."
Furthermore, the president of Turkish Cyprus, Derviş Eroğlu, said on Tuesday that Turkish Cypriots are seeking a deal that makes tomorrow better than today, calling out to Greek Cypriots over the peace talks. "Now the world must ask whether the Greek Cypriot side sincerely wants a deal. [Turkish Cypriots] are seeking a deal that makes tomorrow better than today," Eroğlu said.
There is peace in the region, but the agreement is missing, he added. "Today, there is bloodshed all around the world, especially in the Middle East. Cyprus is the only location where blood is not shed," Eroğlu said in the port city of Girne in Turkish Cyprus.
He underlined that the reason for peace in the region today was the presence of Turkish troops.
Negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cypriots resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013. The previous round of talks had collapsed amid the eurozone debt crisis, as Greek Cyprus took its turn in the EU presidency in 2012.
However, Greek Cyprus suspended the talks on the divided island on Oct. 7, 2014 after Turkey sent a naval ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus. Cyprus has remained divided into Greek and Turkish sides since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974. Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have been engaged in a peace process since February to reunify the island.
Greek Cyprus is a member of the EU and is internationally recognized, except by Turkey, which is the only country that recognizes Turkish Cyprus.