Davutoglu: Turkey ready to take necessary steps to contribute to solution in Cyprus

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday before traveling to the KKTC, Davutoglu described the talks between the KKTC and Greek Cyprus as the “last chance” to unify the island and called on the UN and other international stakeholders in Cyprus to make every effort to find a solution to the issue.

Davutoglu met with KKTC President Mustafa Akıncı, Prime Minister Omer Kalyoncu and Parliament Speaker Sibel Siber. He will also attend the inauguration ceremony of the Lefkosa Yunus Emre Culture Center.

In a joint press conference held by Davutoglu and Akıncı in Lefkosa on Tuesday, the Turkish prime minister said that the only regional crisis in the Mediterranean that is close to a settlement was the Cyprus issue. He went on to say that Turkey will continue to support the ongoing peace talks as a guarantor state of the island.

Cyprus was split in 1974 after Turkey intervened when a Greek Cypriot military junta removed a civilian government with the aim of uniting the island with Greece. Greek Cyprus enjoys international recognition, while Turkish Cyprus is recognized only by Ankara.

The prospects for the resumption of the frozen talks emerged when Akıncı, known for his moderate stance compared his hardline rival in the election, was elected president on April 26. Immediately after Akıncı’s election, both sides made gestures to show their determination to put the stalled talks back on track.

Davutoglu also commented on the management of a pipeline that was built in mid-October to transfer water from Turkey’s southern district of Anamur to the KKTC. On Nov. 20, the Vatan daily reported that there was a disagreement between Turkey and the KKTC over the management of the pipeline, with Turkey insisting that the private sector take over its management.

“The water [flowing from the new pipeline] now belongs to the Turkish Cypriots. What is important is to make use of [the water] with the correct methods. … We are discussing middle ways and methods. There is no need for worries. The difficult phase was completed and the water has come to Cyprus,” Davutoglu said.

Last week, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Akıncı in the KKTC. In a press conference, he said that Turkey fully backed the negotiations to produce a viable and sustainable deal.

UN envoy Espen Barthe, who held talks with the two leaders in Cyprus last week, said last Tuesday that the negotiations aimed at reunifying Cyprus have made progress and that the island’s leaders were confident the remaining issues can be resolved soon.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN