Turkey calls on Greek Cypriots to make positive contributions in peace talks
NICOSIA - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the Greek Cypriots Saturday to make "positive" contributions toward stalled UN-backed peace talks on the decades-old division of Cyprus.
Davutoglu spoke during a visit to the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as part of a recently intensified push to resume the talks.
"We hope that the Greek Cypriot side will make positive contributions to the active efforts of the United Nations," Davutoglu said before meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
"Then, it will be possible to achieve permanent peace both in the island and in the eastern Mediterranean," he said.
UN-brokered negotiations were suspended in mid-2012 when the Turkish Cypriots walked out in protest at the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus taking the European Union's rotating presidency.
Last month, the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders met in the buffer zone dividing the island but no breakthrough was reported.
Davutoglu also added that the negotiation process would be open ended as long as the isolation the Turkish Cypriot side remains in place.
"No one should think that the Turkish Cypriots will give up their rights," he said.
The self-declared TRNC is recognised only by Ankara.
Hopes had been high that negotiations would resume last month, but they stuttered over the wording of a joint statement on basic principles for the new talks.
Ankara says the disagreement stems from the Greek Cypriot insistence on including key parameters of a settlement, including a single sovereignty for a reunified Cyprus.
The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey met in Athens on Friday and called for a resumption of talks.
But the Greek Cypriot leader and president of the republic, Nicos Anastasiades, said the resumption of talks remains a long way off despite recent optimism.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third after an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia seeking to unite Cyprus with Greece.