Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who is currently in Ankara, met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday (9 October 2013). Davutoğlu and Nami held a joint press conference after the meeting.

Foreign Minister Nami stated that they exchanged views on the point reached regarding the Cyprus issue and the path to be followed hereafter. “Turkish Cypriot people have been living with the Cyprus problem for 50 years. They are isolated from the world and subjected to a very unjust status. It’s time to put an end to this issue”, said Foreign Minister Nami.

Pointing out that besides Turkey’s big support to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot people should also integrate with the world, Nami said: “We have set a goal and that is March 2014. We desire to hold a referendum for a comprehensive settlement on the island and definitely to realize a comprehensive solution”.

Stressing that there were important convergences reached in the negotiations until today and that these could not be disregarded, Nami said:

“Both sides should agree on a new comprehensive settlement plan until the end of this year, by adding the new convergences to the existing ones in the negotiations. As a next step, they should explain this plan to their people within couple of months and hold separate simultaneous referenda. This problem should not exceed 50 years. Otherwise, the international community should find a different answer to the question of what should be done in Cyprus”.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that the time of the meeting with his counterpart Özdil Nami in Ankara coincided with the time of the meeting of both sides’ representatives in Cyprus. Noting that the Cyprus negotiations have reached a very critical point, Davutoğlu said election of the new Greek Cypriot leader in South Cyprus raised hopes towards a solution, however because of the economic crises and other developments in the Greek Cypriot administration, negotiations could not be resumed yet.

Reminding that they conveyed to the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor Alexander Downer during his latest visit to Ankara that it was time to carry out serious negotiations which would have a certain framework and time-limit, Davutoğlu said they also stated that the delay in the negotiations not only created unnecessary tensions in the island but also in the Eastern Mediterranean. Davutoğlu added that they also reiterated their will towards accelerating the process.

Referring to the recent meeting with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos within the framework of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, where they agreed on mutual visits of the representatives of both sides in Cyprus to Ankara and Athens, Davutoğlu said: “Perhaps, for the first time in 50-60 years long crises period, the visit of a Turkish Cypriot representative to Athens and of a Greek Cypriot representative to Ankara would eliminate an important psychological barrier.

“In the forthcoming days, probably on the 4th of November, the leaders would come together. Our initiatives in this respect will continue”, said Davutoğlu, adding that October would be the preparation month. Pointing out that there could be a need for having another meeting in the coming days, depending on the outcome of the yesterday’s meeting of the two sides’ representatives, Davutoğlu said he was planning to pay a visit to the TRNC. “We are at a critical threshold. If a strong will is displayed, then there can be a suitable atmosphere for negotiations and peace which has been desired for a long time in Cyprus”, Davutoğlu added.

Underlining that Turkey and the TRNC have put forward their determination towards the resumption of the negotiations as early as possible and reaching a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, however the Greek Cypriot side did not display the same stance, Davutoğlu said: “We believe that a new window of opportunity has emerged. We will do our utmost, by meeting with all the related parties”.

Noting that during the meeting with his counterpart Nami they also discussed the issue of the recognition of the TRNC by the world, Davutoğlu said: “The TRNC believes that while carrying out negotiations on one hand, it also has the right to explain its just cause to the world and establish relations with everyone. We will continue to spend intensive efforts towards ending the unjust isolation and eliminating the outdated restrictions imposed upon the TRNC”.

In response to a question asked how the mutual visits of the two sides’ representatives would affect the process and whether a multi-lateral conference would be hold in later stages, Davutoğlu reiterated that the latest developments helped eliminating an important psychological barrier.

Reminding that as guarantor states Turkey and Greece have special status in the process, Davutoğlu said however, the mutual meetings held until today were either between the two sides in Cyprus or between Turkey and the TRNC as well as between Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration. He added that for the first time, Turkey would see the perspective of a Greek Cypriot representative and Greece would see the perspective of a TRNC representative.

Expressing the belief that this would be the beginning, Davutoğlu stressed that Turkish-Greek and Turkish Cypriot- Greek Cypriot peoples who had been living side by side for ages could only give the best decision together.

For his part, Foreign Minister Nami also stated that Greek Cypriots had wrong impressions about Turkey and the meeting that would be held with their collocutors in Ankara would help them to get rid of those impressions and have a positive contribution to the process. Nami added that also the meeting of a TRNC representative with his collocutors in Athens would facilitate establishing direct relations with other countries.