Eroglu says an agreement in Cyprus should be reached in the first three months of 2012; He met with Erdogan in Ankara

Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (05.07.11) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has said that an agreement in Cyprus should be reached in the first three months of 2012. In statements at illegal Tymbou airport yesterday prior to his departure for Turkey where he would hold contacts regarding the Cyprus summit to be held in Geneva on 7 July, Eroglu alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side has always been sincere during the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. He claimed that the Turkish side has been submitting to the table proposals that would satisfy both sides and therefore they do not worry while going to Geneva.

Eroglu noted that in Geneva they will discuss how all chapters will be negotiated in an intensive manner, but they will not enter into details. Noting that the UN Secretary-General would have something to say, Eroglu reiterated the Turkish position that the negotiations in Cyprus continue since 1968 and that the 43-year long negotiations should come to an end. “If we end the negotiations with a solution, both sides will be satisfied. If an agreement is not reached, an evaluation of the situation will be made”, he added.

Asked on the possibility of a give and take process in Geneva, Eroglu said that there would be no give and take process in Geneva, that the strategy and the program of the negotiations will be discussed and that the give and take could be carried out when they return to the island and after convergence is achieved on the negotiating chapters.

Asked whether they have a “Plan B”, Eroglu said that now it is not the time to talk about a “Plan B”, that they are carrying out the negotiations hoping to reach an agreement and that the UN Secretary-General wants to end the negotiations with an agreement before the Republic of Cyprus takes over the term presidency of the European Union. “An agreement should be reached in the first three months of 2012 the latest”, argued Eroglu adding that President Christofias also wishes the conclusion of the negotiations in the first half of 2012 and within this framework a time limit exists, even though a date has not been put forward. Eroglu argued that then the UN Secretary-General will decide whether the problem could be solved with the UN’s good offices mission.

When asked to comment on news published in the Greek Cypriot press that Turkey had accepted the relation of the property issue with the territory, Eroglu said that Turkey made no statement on this issue, but all issues are related with each other. He alleged that if the territory is related with the property, the territory is related with the guarantees as well and the governance and power sharing is related with the EU affairs.

Eroglu said that the territory will be the last issue of discussion, as the UN Secretary-General has also mentioned in his report. Noting that some criteria exist in the above-mentioned issue, Eroglu alleged that relating the issues in the manner that the Greek Cypriots want would be tantamount to undermining the negotiations.

Responding to a question on the possibility of arbitration by the UN Secretary-General after 7 July, Eroglu said that the UN Secretary-General does not think of introducing the element of arbitration in the negotiations, and that he wants the leaders to find a Cypriot solution. He recalled that the Greek Cypriot side is against arbitration and time limits in the negotiating process.

Meanwhile, Gunes (05.07.11) reports that Eroglu met last night in Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. No statements were made after the meeting.

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