Cyprus closer to unification

first_imgSpeaking during a joint press conference after a three-hour meeting in Ankara, Ahmet Davutoglu and Alexis Tsipras stressed that Greece and Turkey will contribute positively to efforts for a solution to the partition burdening Cyprus since 1974. “We are cautiously optimistic. We think we are closer than we have ever been before,” Emine Colak, foreign minister in the internationally unrecognised administration in the north, told Reuters in an interview. “We don’t think the Cyprus problem has gotten easy – it hasn’t, but we think we have a window of opportunity,” he continued, saying that it is possible and desirable to get to at least the major part of the negotiations and the agreed text by May 2016, possibly followed by a referendum. The Cyprus issue has been a constant source of tension between Greece and Turkey as well as the main obstacle keeping Turkey outside the European Union; however, the election of moderate Mustafa Akinci as Turkish Cypriot leader in May has put things into a different perspective. The cost of unification is estimated at around $24 billion and would be borne by the international community. Even though the two sides agree on reuniting Cyprus as a two-zone federation under a federal umbrella, there are deep differences on how the new state would function, as well as the level of autonomy that would be granted to each side. The exact geography of the dividing line, including the property claims of tens of thousands of people displaced during the conflict, make the resolution even more difficult. Greek Cypriot demands that the thousands of Turkish mainlanders who arrived on the island after the division should leave are still pending. “We have had some convergence on a lot of the headings so far but I would say we are about halfway, but at the moment there is a very sticky issue and that is property,” Colak said, reassuring that effective formulas will be found as soon as the outline of a deal emerges. “Another issue is how and on what terms a unification deal would be guaranteed by Britain, Greece and Turkey,” she stressed.Source: CNA, AP Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more