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Turkish FM: Turkish Cypriots ready for peace talks

TURKISH FM: TURKISH CYPRIOTS READY FOR PEACE TALKS

FM Cavusoglu says Turkish Cypriot side ready for peace talks in Geneva or Cyprus 'without any preconditions'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday the Turkish Cypriot side was ready for peace talks in Geneva or in Cyprus "without any preconditions".

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci in the TRNC capital Lefkosa, Cavusoglu said the Turkish Cypriot side was keeping its constructive stance on the Cyprus negotiation process despite the bottlenecks and stated that the peace talks were ongoing thanks to Turkey's and Turkish Cypriot side's constructive attitude.

Cavusoglu stated that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side were ready for Geneva peace talks or Cyprus conference without any preconditions. "In no circumstances can we [Turkish side and Turkey] accept the preconditions of the Greek side."

Cavusoglu recalled that the preconditions demanded by Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis at the last leaders' meeting held on May 17 were contradictory to the Leaders' Joint Declaration on Feb. 11, 2014 and Geneva Conference on Cyprus Final Declaration on Jan. 12, 2017.

"The Leaders' Joint Declaration on Feb. 11, 2014 and parameters of the Geneva Conference on Cyprus Final Declaration on Jan. 12, 2017 are very clear.

"So, making contradictory proposals is just trying to extend the process without killing it and playing to domestic politics and also a useless work that wastes our energy," Cavusoglu said adding that a result-oriented process must be followed for a permanent and fair peace.

Hydrocarbon activities

Cavusoglu warned that the Greek side's unilateral hydrocarbon explorations in the divided island would lead to tensions in the region and negatively affect the negotiation process.

"We expect the Greek Cypriot administration or international companies to stop ignoring the rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots over the natural resources of the island," Cavusoglu said adding that these explorations were also harming the potential economic cooperation in the island.

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after an Enosis-inspired 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island's Turkish people, and Turkey's intervention as a guarantor power.

The reunification talks -- brokered by UN's Special Envoy on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide -- were launched in May 2015 to discuss a permanent settlement for the divided Mediterranean island.

The status of the island remains unresolved in spite of a series of discussions that resumed in May 2015.

Despite the disputed status, the Greek Cypriot administration continued to unilaterally open new tenders for hydrocarbon explorations without any collaboration with the Turkish Cypriots.

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