Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci left Tuesday for New York City at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for their first meeting since the presidential election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in April.
Political tensions in the long-divided island have eased since full-fledged talks resumed on May 15. Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades met with UN Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide in Cyprus to resume negotiations over the Cyprus issue on May 15.
'The negotiation process has started intensively,' said Akinci to the press at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul Tuesday before departing for New York City.
He added that negotiations have been continuing for 47 years and that no result had been achieved so far.
'We hope that a better Cyprus is created for the posterity of both sides during this new period,' he added.
Akinci referred to a saying: 'There are two sides in Cyprus and they have to dance the tango in harmony. If one of them steps on the other's foot, this issue will fail.'
'I modified that saying,' he added. 'We actually need halay [a traditional Anatolian folk dance] rather than tango. A new process is necessary in Cyprus where everybody will hold hands, with more participation, in harmony, and towards a target.'
Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders agreed on a five-step plan to resolve the issue of the division on the island on May 28.
The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot administration in the northern third and a Greek Cypriot one in the southern two-thirds after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power in Cyprus.
Negotiations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration to try to find a way to settle their decades-long conflict had resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013.
However, the Greek Cypriot administration suspended the talks on Oct. 7 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus.
By Tutku Senen