Hope for Cyprus
At a meeting at the State Department with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the dispute over Cyprus had gone on for too long.
"This is a problem that just has gone on for far too long, and it is begging for international efforts to try to help bring about a resolution, a lasting settlement," Kerry said. “And that will be very positive for the region and obviously a terrific boost and opportunity for a better life for all Cypriots”
Kerry previously has discussed the issue a number of times with Cavusoglu’s predecessor Ahmet Davutoglu, who is now Turkey’s Prime Minister.
BackgroundIn 1974, a coup d’etat by Greece - an attempt to annex the island and make it a part of Greece - prompted the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, resulting in the movement of the island’s Turkish population to the north, and Greek Cypriots to the south. North Cyprus declared independence in 1983.
Since the independence, attempts to reunify have been unsuccessful, and the island has remained divided - to a point where the capital Nicosia is split in two by the green line, the dividing point between the north and south.
New negotiationsA UN peace envoy this month announced that negotiations are set to resume, with the aim of resolving the island’s fate once and for all.
"We believe that the parties can make real and lasting progress in the year 2015," Kerry said, adding that the US and Turkey both support the UN-led negotiations to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
Mevlut Cavusoglu called for the US to play an active role in the reunification process. "Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have the political will for a solution, and we are waiting at the negotiating table," he told Kerry. "Thanks to the efforts and the support of United States, we can finally reach a lasting and fair solution in Cyprus."
Kerry also brought up the Cyprus issue with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.
Election hopesRound one has ended in the North Cypriot elections, and Greek Cypriots have expressed their satisfaction with the way the voting appears to be going.
Although Greek Cypriots are officially distancing themselves from the election, there is hope that the outcome may help bring about negotiations.
Cyprus government spokesperson Nikos Christodoulides told euronews that Greek Cyprus is ready to work with whoever the Turkish Cypriots choose as their new leader, in the hope that talks will begin soon. “And with the contribution of Turkey to try to achieve the much desired solution of the Cyprus issue.”
Political commentators are picking Mustafa Akinsi to win the vote. Akinsi, a moderate, is running against incumbent conservative Dervis Eroglu.
The consensus among political commentators seems to be that Akinsi will work together with the Greek Cypriots in finding future solutions, whereas Eroglu would favour working with Ankara. A moderate government might pave the way for progress to be made after years of stagnation.