Gul said, ''the developments of 2005 have once again shown to all of us that the absence of a settlement in Cyprus is, first of all, contrary to the interests of both peoples on the Island. Our priority is finding a comprehensive settlement which would be lasting and just.''
''Such a settlement in Cyprus under the good-offices mission of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was within reach in 2004 and we believe that it is still attainable,'' he added.
''Implemented in good faith mutually, this action plan could pave the way for solution process,'' noted Gul.
First proposals of the plan include opening of Turkish airports and ports to Greek Cypriot vessels and planes as well as opening of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) ports to international commerce.
Gul said that the plan was sent to Annan on January 20th, and Annan would carefully examine the plan.
Gul listed details of the plan as follows;
1. Opening of the sea ports of Turkey to Greek Cypriot vessels serving the trade of goods in accordance with the EC-Turkey Customs Union.
2. Allowing Greek Cypriot air carriers to use the Turkish air space for over-flights and to land at the Turkish airports in accordance with relevant international rules and procedures.
3. Opening of the ports in North Cyprus, including Gazimagosa, Girne, and Gemikonagi to international traffic of goods, persons and services under Turkish Cypriot management.
4. Opening of Ercan airport for direct flights under the Turkish Cypriot management.
5. Special arrangements for the practical inclusion of North Cyprus, as an economic entity, into the European Union's customs union. Unhindered direct trade between both sides of the Island as well as with the outside world.
6. Participation of the Turkish Cypriot side in international sports, cultural and other social activities.
Gul said, ''we propose the following procedural steps for the implementation;''
7. A high level meeting is to be convened no later than May/June 2006 under the auspices of the UN with the participation of Turkey, Greece, the Turkish Cypriot side and the Greek Cypriot side with a view to finalizing the draft action plan which will be implemented as an integrated whole within an agreed time frame.
8. The action plan and outcome of the meeting are to be submitted by the UN Secretary General to the UN Security Council. The UN Secretary General may wish to establish a mechanism to keep the implementation of the plan under review, with a view to regularly reporting any development to the Security Council.
9. The assistance, particularly to the Turkish Cypriot side, of the UN and the EU Commission will help facilitate the implementation of the proposed measures.
10. The action plan will, in no way, prejudice legal and political positions of the parties concerned. It is aimed at bringing about an environment of cooperation and mutual trust with a comprehensive settlement perspective to the Cyprus issue.
''In this respect, Turkey remains committed to the efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the framework of UN Secretary-General's mission of good offices and on the basis of the UN Secretary General's settlement plan. Turkey earnestly hopes that an agreement on the comprehensive settlement will be reached in 2006,'' said Gul.
GUL: ''WE BELIEVE OUR INITIATIVE CAN START A NEW PROCESS''
He said, ''we propose an Action Plan to be adopted and implemented in earnest as a whole. The gist of this proposal is the elimination of all restrictions for both sides in Cyprus, providing substantial benefits to all parties and promoting socio-economic development by reducing disparities.''
''The Action Plan is not a substitute for a mutually acceptable political solution. The fundamental objective remains a comprehensive settlement. Yet, this initiative has a strong potential to bring about a process that would facilitate a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus question,'' he added.
Gul noted, ''neither does our proposal prejudice the respective legal and political positions of the relevant parties concerned. I wish to emphasize this point in particular.''
''The proposed Action Plan is based on the main idea of rapprochement amongst all. It is so devised that the relevant parties take mutual and complementary steps towards each other, gradually creating an environment of mutual trust and cooperation. The new initiative has been built on the premises laid down by our suggestions of May 30th, 2005,'' he said.
He noted, ''under the Action Plan, Turkish sea ports and airports will be opened to Greek Cypriot sea vessels and air carriers. Likewise the sea ports and the airport in North Cyprus will be opened to international traffic.''
Gul said, ''the practical arrangements should envisage, under an established time-table, the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, persons and services, including restrictions on means of transport. They should also provide the two sides in Cyprus with the perspective of economic integration within the EU customs union.''
''In the proposed Action Plan the UN Secretary-General is kindly invited to consider the Plan and take the lead. We also suggest the convening of a high level meeting under the auspices of the UNSG and with the participation of both sides in Cyprus, Turkey and Greece for the implementation of the Action Plan,'' said Gul.
He noted, ''we call upon the international community to carefully study and extend active support to this proposal. We believe that the time has come to move forward all together, leaving behind restrictions and confrontation. We need to turn a new page. The new proposals that I announce today might well be the first step in that direction.''
''This new initiative also conforms with the repeated calls and expectations of the international community; particularly as expressed by the UN Secretary General in his report of May 28th, 2004, the resolution of the EU Council of April 26th, 2004, and various resolutions of the EU Parliament, the OIC and the Council of Europe, made after the referenda, with a view to integrating the Turkish Cypriots with the world,'' said Gul.
-OUTCOME OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROPOSAL-
Gul said, ''the plan presents an opportunity
-to improve daily relations between the two sides on the Island;
-help stabilize the Eastern Mediterranean region;
-provide economic benefits for all;
-help two sides in Cyprus reach EU norms, standards and values;
-integrate the Turkish Cypriots with the rest of the world, which has been a goal of the international community, including the EU, since mid-2004.''
''Briefly, the Action Plan provides an improved environment of trust and economic development in which concerned parties can work together towards a settlement,'' he noted.
Gul added, ''we sincerely hope that Turkey's package of proposals will be received and examined positively by the relevant parties. Turkey, as in the past, is ready and willing to work with the UN Secretary-General and relevant parties for peace, stability and harmony.''
Replying questions of reporters, Gul said, ''the plan was sent to Annan through Turkish permanent representative to UN Baki Ilkin on January 20th, 2006. Annan welcomed the plan.''
Upon a question, Gul said, ''basic source of the views in the plan is based on our previous proposal which was made on May 30th, 2005. However, current plan includes more concrete steps and time-tables.''
''Until last year, Greek Cypriots are the ones who were complaining about the division of the island the most. This will be a sincerity test for Greek Cypriots,'' said Gul.
When asked whether sincerity of Greek Cypriots had been tested in previous referendum, Gul said, ''if other side does not fulfill its responsibility while Turkish side fulfills its responsibility, then there is nothing to do.''