Any peace agreement in Cyprus should provide equal rights to the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey's parliament speaker said on Friday.
"Otherwise peace, just for the sake of peace is not acceptable," Cemil Cicek said, while on a formal visit to Lefkosa to mark the 31st anniversary of the foundation of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
"If there should be a peace agreement, it has to acknowledge that there are two peoples on the island, and that Turkish Cypriots are no minority,"
"An agreement to be arrived at under such conditions would be for the benefit of both sides and for the whole region," Cicek said.
"The region is seething with new developments every single day, and the situation is getting more and more complicated. If we think of the region as part of the Middle East, the importance of achieving a just peace would be better understood," Cicek explained.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, also visiting the country, said: "We want our Cypriot kins to live in a more developed and prosperous country, and it will happen through economic investment, not only with financial aid."
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was also not included in a cooperation meeting of Egypt, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in Cairo last week, in which a natural gas strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean region was discussed. A joint declaration after the meeting called on Turkey to "cease its operations within the maritime boundaries of Cyprus."
Negotiations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration had resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013. The previous round of talks had collapsed largely because of the impact of the Eurozone debt crisis on the Greek Cypriot administration.
But the Greek Cypriot administration suspended these talks on Oct. 7, after Turkey sent an oil-and-gas exploration mission to the waters off the Cyprus coast. The move to send a research vessel with two navy ships, was intended to show that Turkey objected to the Greek Cypriot administration's plans to exploit hydrocarbon resources off the island. Both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have called for a fair division of such resources between both sides.
"We are always in contact with our homeland Turkey," Dervis Eroglu, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. "We wanted to continue the peace talks, but our Greek Cypriot interlocutor left the table. I hope the world perceives that reality and will call on the Greek Cypriots to return to the peace table without any preconditions."
At stake is the exploitation of the Aphrodite Gas field, which holds five trillion cubic feet of natural gas (141 billion cubic meters) according to U.S. firm Noble Energy’s estimate, off the southern coast of Cyprus, 34 kilometers (21.1 miles) away from Israel’s Leviathan field.
In 1974, an attempt was made by Greek Cypriots to forcibly annex the island to Athens in a coup attempt referred to as "enosis," or union. This was resisted by an armed Turkish peace mission in accordance with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. Consequently, Turkish Cypriots set up their own state in the north of the island in 1983, recognized by Turkey.
AALast Mod: 14 Kasım 2014, 23:52