Comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at UN press briefing - 26 September 2013
Q: Mr. Foreign Minister I listened to President Gul on Tuesday and I listened today to President Anastasiades and I sensed a much different tone in 26 years that I cover the UN General Assembly. Is there something going on here and if there’s something moving to a better climate can you comment on the proposal for Varosha, the opening of the port, the EU chapters etc?
A: Yes, there’s a better climate I can say. In fact Turkey has been working very hard to create this climate; especially in 2004 negotiations I am sure you will remember Turkey was the leading actor to achieve a solution on the island and to make Cyprus an island of peace. But unfortunately that time despite of the strong support from the Turkish Cypriot side, 65% yes, the Greek Cypriot side rejected. This plan, this chance was missed. But at that time Anastasiades voted for yes, and therefore this time Anastasiades and his party are in power. In the last 4-5 years the negotiations were quite hectic but did not create much result and we appreciate Secretary-General’s Bank-Ki-moon and his Special Envoy Downer’s efforts. But there were no time-frameworks, not concrete results. But meanwhile in the last 2 or 3 weeks Alexander Downer visited us, later I met my dear colleague Evangelos Venizelos both in Ankara and in New York. Our meeting was very successful and we decided to offer, to make a suggestion to both sides of Cyprus that there could be mutual visits to Ankara and to Athens. Fortunately both sides have accepted this. This is a very important step forward for confidence building and until now, as if we are not neighbors, nobody was meeting each-other except Turkey and Greece of course, or the leaders of the communities were meeting. But now, this time, first time ever, the Greek authorities , in Athens they will meet a Turkish Cypriot negotiator and Turkish authorities in Ankara they will meet a Greek Cypriot negotiator. This is an important breakthrough, psychologically important and also procedurally important. Of course this reflects to the statement of President Gul and of course of the statement of Mr. Anastasiades. But this positive momentum should be utilized in an appropriate manner. Several opportunities in the past were missed, this time it should not be missed. We are ready for a comprehensive settlement and this Turkish and Greek contribution is very important as guarantor states in this process. We hope this momentum will create concrete results.
Q: and Varosha?
A: We discussed this with Mr. Venizelos among other issues but Varosha is part of a comprehensive settlement. But we offered in 2006 and in 2008 again we were repeating it, we were ready to lift all restrictions on the island. All restrictions regarding Turkish relations with the Greek Cypriot side but also all restrictions regarding Turkish Cypriot side, freedom of making trade, making cultural sports, transportation. If this happens this will be another big step forward for the normalization of the relations, Turkey will open the ports and open the transportation to Greek Cypriots of ports and airports but also the same way we expect the Turkish Cypriot airport and access to the world would be allowed. If these things which are the same issues happen, full access of transportation, will make, will create huge development. Afterwards within the framework of a comprehensive settlement everything will be discussed including Varosha.
Get all the latest news and videos in your inbox. Register FREE