PM Davutoğlu: Turkey will not allow ghetto life for Turkish Cypriots
by Anadolu Agency
ANKARAMar 18, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Mar 18, 2015 12:00 am
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the Cyprus issue is not a difficult one as long as there is political will for a permanent solution on the divided island.
"It is not a hard issue, on the contrary, it is an easy one once you have the political will," he said on Tuesday evening, according to Turkish Prime Ministry sources.
His remarks over the solution process on the divided island of Cyprus came during a closed meeting with Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, Elmar Brok, and his accompanying delegation at the Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara.
Davutoğlu said that if the "2004 Annan Plan" - a U.N. proposal to resolve the dispute by restructuring the island as a federation of two states - had been accepted back then, "we would not have been talking about these issues today."
Cyprus came close to an agreement in April 2004 when a poll was taken to decide on the plan which aimed to unify the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities.
However, the stalemate lingers and the division remains unsolved as the proposal was backed by only 24 percent of Greek Cypriots, who claimed that it favored Turkish Cypriots. The plan received the support of 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots.
"We gave all kinds of support for the plan, but we will never allow Turkish Cypriots to live in ghettos again," he added.
Davutoğlu further noted that the European Parliament could play a helping role in the process to reach a solution.
The island of 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.
Negotiations between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots had resumed in February 2013 after a two-year pause.
However, the Greek Cypriot administration suspended the talks on October 7, when Turkey sent a ship to monitor a Greek Cypriot oil-and-gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus, which the Greek Cypriot side claimed came under its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Turkey is opposed to any unilateral Greek Cypriot move to explore hydrocarbon resources around the island. It insists that the island's natural resources should be exploited in a fair manner under a united Cyprus.
The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the EU and is internationally recognized by all nations except Turkey.