Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu visits North Cyprus

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu paid his first visit abroad to North Cyprus on Tuesday in a show of solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots. An official welcoming ceremony was staged for Davutoğlu. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu and several ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies accompanied Davutoğlu on his visit to the TRNC, Turkish daily ‘Zaman’ reports.

After meeting President Derviş Eroğlu, Davutoğlu (L) said if Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is ready, they could visit both the South and the TRNC to establish peace on the island.

“If the prime minister of Greece is ready, we can first go to the south, drink tea together and have a heart-to-heart talk. Then we can go the North together. The Mediterranean has been the common sea of many civilizations and nations. Let’s establish peace here together,” Davutoğlu said, also calling on Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades not to delay reconciliation.

During the press conference, Davutoğlu also expressed disappointment over the efforts to unite Cyprus, saying Turkey’s efforts to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a peaceful basin were not well received by Greeks.

“We wanted Turkey, Greece, the TRNC and Greek Cyprus to sit around the same table together and think about how they can turn the east Mediterranean into a peaceful basin. However, no matter how strong our efforts, we have not received the reception we want,” Davutoğlu stated.

Reunification talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots resumed at the beginning of this year, however, they have reached a virtual stalemate. Stumbling blocks such as power sharing, redrawing territorial boundaries, as well as the property claims of tens of thousands of displaced persons have hindered the 3rd phase of ‘give and take’ in the negotiations.

When asked about the reports circulating in the foreign media saying that Turkish citizens are joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Davutoğlu said that some of the reports were biased and that there are more European fighters joining ISIL than those from Turkey. He added that Turkey is asking for better intelligence sharing about European fighters crossing into Syria through Turkey.

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