ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu seeks to hold the EU presidency as a unified Cyprus by 2012, an official tells the Daily News. He is set to hold trilateral talks in Geneva on Thursday to set a definite agenda. Eroğlu recently called for talks to be concluded within the next three to five months to reach an agreement.
The Turkish Cypriot leader is attending a tripartite meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader and U.N. chief in Geneva on Thursday to conclude negotiations at the latest in 2012 and take the European Union Presidency at that time as a “Unified Cyprus” with Greek Cypriots.
“We expect the U.N. chief to propose an action plan for more a comprehensive and intensified schedule of talks that will lead to an agreement and referendum on both sides in 2012, so that we can then take the EU term presidency as a unified Cyprus,” a Turkish Cypriot official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Tuesday.
Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu will attend a tripartite meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva on Thursday. Ahead of the meeting Eroğlu held talks in Ankara with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on late Monday and with President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Tuesday. The Turkish Cypriot leader then left for Geneva.
The Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders have been conducting U.N.-brokered talks on a solution to the Cyprus problem in a bid to reunify the island since 2008. Greek Cyprus, an EU member country, will take the presidency of the union in mid-2012. Turkey still has not officially recognized the Greek Cypriot administration, which has led to difficulties in its own membership negotiations with the bloc.
Even though the Turkish side urges the parties to set a calendar for negotiation talks between the Cypriot leaders, but Christofias rejects any sort of deadline for the talks.
“In any case, talks with the Greek Cypriots have a natural calendar. That is the EU presidency of Greek Cypriots in 2012 and upcoming elections for the southern part of the island in 2013,” the Turkish Cypriot official said.
Turkish side optimistic
U.N. chief Ban already had expressed his unease with the slow pace of talks in his recent reports, the official said.
“He shares his idea with us that these talks cannot be open-ended and they should not be held just to make talks. In Thursday’s tripartite meeting we expect Ban Ki-Moon to propose an action plan for an intensified and comprehensive negotiation process without deadlines, but setting the agenda and dates for upcoming meetings,” the official added.
Eroğlu said late last month that if an agreement to reunite Cyprus is ever going to be reached, it will occur within the next three to five months.
“If an agreement is to be made...the process cannot continue forever,” he said at the time.
Turkish Cypriots are not optimistic about the U.N. chief implementing a deadline on the Cyprus talks, since Christofias categorically rejects it. However, they hope Ban will push the talks so Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots can reach an agreement by the end of 2012. “After keeping negotiations till the end of this year, we can hold an inter-governmental conference with the participation of guarantor counties and then we can take the agreement to referendum on both sides of the island,” the Turkish Cypriot official said.
In the talks in Ankara, the Turkish side reiterated its “one step ahead” policy for Thursday’s tripartite meeting and urged Greek Cypriots to accelerate negotiations, an official from Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Daily News on Tuesday. In recent remarks, Turkish Cypriot leader Eroğlu said if no agreement was reached on Thursday, then Ban should make his stance clear.
Hürriyet Daily News, Juky 5, 2011, Sevil Küçükkoşum, Turkish Cypriots seek EU presidency in 2012