Turkey reiterated its support for the U.N.-led peace talks in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus on July 20, which marked the 42nd anniversary of the Turkish military intervention on the island, with a reduced military presence in the national day parades.
“The Cyprus issue, which should guarantee the political equality, legitimate rights and security of the Cypriot Turks, and which we see as a national case, continues to be our priority,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş during the July 20 Peace and Freedom celebrations in Nicosia on July 20. Read the rest of this entry »
Hundreds of Turks crossed the “Green Line” dividing the Mediterranean island of Cyprus on July 7 to pray at a mosque in Greek Cyprus, a rare pilgrimage made possible by a 2014 accord.
In searing heat, police escorted a convoy of buses carrying the pilgrims to the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque, a site revered by Muslims as the burial site of the aunt of the Prophet Mohammed.
The visitors then held a prayer service marking Eid al-Fitr, the festival that concludes the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The need to transport natural gas found off of Israel to EU markets was one of the main motivations for the normalization deal between Israel and Turkey, reached on June 26.
The numbers tell that the gas factor was more of a pushing factor for Israel than it was for Turkey. It seems that gas from Israel will provide middle term source-diversification for Turkey, besides the more important political meaning that will come with economic interdependence.
The foreign ministry of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) expressed concern over the decision of Greek Cyprus to deploy 3,000 additional troops as the negotiations to solve the decades old problem of unification are ongoing.
The statement released by the ministry on Friday said that the decision to deploy 3,000 additional specialist soldiers is not in line with the intense negotiations by the leaders of two administrations, who previously expressed that a solution to the Cyprus problem could be achieved within this year.
The statement reminded that the negotiations foresee that a future union, based on political and sovereign equality of the two communities, would not possess an armed force, while Turkey’s guarantorship would continue.
Noting that it was hard to comprehend the Greek Cypriot Administration’s attitude of increasing its armed forces during the negotiations, the statement said this decision caused the Turkish Cypriot side to question Greek side’s sincerity for a peaceful resolution.
The statement also added the Greek side should remind itself of its expected partnership and cooperation during the negotiations process and avoid actions that could hamper the peace process.
Reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015 when newly-elected Akıncı met with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades. Previous negotiations were stalled in October 2014 in a row over gas exploration.
The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern third and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 Greece-backed military coup on the island was followed by Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power.
After more than 40 years of division, the government of Cyprus is pushing for the island to be reunified in the next six months.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci both understand the need to end the “unacceptable status quo and reunify Cyprus as a federal state and that’s important in itself,” Cyprus government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said before the the two leaders resumed negotiations for the reunification of the island on Wednesday.
Greece has named Turkey an “honorary country” in 2016, along with three other countries, in a bid to boost bilateral economic and tourism ties.
In 2015, more than 1 million Turks visited Greece, while over 800,000 Greek tourists visited Turkey, according to official data.
Every year four countries are selected by Greece as “honorary” and their citizens enjoy additional benefits and discounts at all affiliated sites.
In 2017, the “honorary countries” and regions will be the EU, China, Iran and the Western Balkans, according to the statement.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart have agreed Thursday to resume previously interrupted peace talks on June 8.
Both leaders met in the UN-administered buffer zone in Nicosia for International Children’s Day, generally celebrated on June 1.
“The solution for the Cyprus issue will be [found] at the resumption of negotiations,” said Akinci after a meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.
Turkish PM Yildirim: Lasting solution is only possible through equal partnership and belief in a common future.
Turkey expects that the Cyprus issue can be resolved within the next 12 months, said PrimeMinister Binali Yildirim on Wednesday.
“As a guarantor state, Turkey sincerely expects that a political solution negotiated on the basis of the will of both [the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot] communities can be found within the next year,” Yildirim told a joint news conference with the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci .
Saying that a lasting solution is possible only “through the understanding of an equal partnership, and a belief in a common future,” Yildirim reiterated Turkey’s commitment to the process, and continued support to the Turkish Cypriot side.
The electoral victory of the moderate Mustafa Akıncı was celebrated by Turkish Cypriots carrying the flags of the EU last year. Some Greek Cypriots joined in celebrating the new president, and for a moment, the atmosphere was similar to the Turkish Cypriot rallies for peace and the European Union in 2004. That was a historic time, on the eve of Cyprus joining the EU. The spirit of peace had never been stronger, since the island was divided by Turkey’s intervention (some would say invasion) in 1974, following a coup on the island engineered by Greece.
The prospect of EU membership for the Greek Cypriot-led Republic of Cyprus injected an exceptional momentum to the peace talks. As was expected, the Turkish Cypriot side, whose state the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus remains non-recognised and isolated, was attracted by the benefits of membership. If the UN talks succeeded, the island would reunite before EU accession and the benefits could be spread more equitably. The economic prospects were an important incentive, but the EU’s influence went beyond that. The island’s European ambitions galvanised Turkish Cypriot civil society and leftwing parties, who were initially Eurosceptic, to support EU membership as well as reunification.
Deputy prime minister and finance minister, Serdar Denktaş has said that: “I do not believe that we are carrying out a negotiating process in which political equality and equal sovereignty are adequately protected”. Read the rest of this entry »