Turkey's foreign minister on Friday reaffirmed that the upcoming Geneva talks on the Cyprus issue will be an informal one.
"The meeting in Geneva will be informal. There will be no new negotiations to be held there," Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with Ersin Tatar, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Cavusoglu arrived in Northern Cyprus' capital Lefkosa late Thursday. His visit aims to "defend together our national cause with a new vision," he said on Twitter.
The Turkish foreign minister held meetings throughout Friday ahead of an informal 5+1 meeting on Cyprus that is planned to be held on April 27-29 in Geneva under the auspices of the UN.
"We believe that we will no longer waste time on the federal solution and that new ideas and new vision should be discussed," he said.
Cavusoglu reminded Turkey's "win-win" approach for a "just, permanent and sustainable" framework and vision to the long-disputed island of Cyprus.
The Geneva talks will seek a common ground for negotiations, Cavusoglu said, adding: "We definitely and certainly will not continue where we left off at Crans-Montana [talks]. This is out of the question."
The 2017 Crans-Montana conference in Switzerland held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the UK -- ended in failure.
The top diplomat further stressed Turkey's solidarity with the TRNC "at any cost," saying: "The safety and welfare of Turkish Cypriot people are of Turkish people."
EU position on Cyprus dispute
On the EU position in the Cyprus dispute, Cavusoglu stated that the bloc completely ignores the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot people on issues such as income sharing and that it supports the Greek side "even if it is 100% wrong."
He pointed out that if the EU really wants to be an "honest mediator," then it should put aside membership talks and act in an objective, balanced way in order to achieve a permanent solution to problems.
Also on Twitter, the Turkish minister said: "Federal solution has been negotiated for 53 years without any result. Turkish Cypriot side promotes two-state solution and cooperation based on sovereign equality. Turkey will always continue to support TRNC."
In response to a question about the joint press conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Cavusoglu said: "Everything we said at the press conference was constructive. Unfortunately, Dendias went off track and crossed the line."
Urging Greek side to make "sincere" decision on issues between the two countries, Cavusoglu said that the two neighboring countries should discuss the issue together and solutions should be sought.
"As Turkey, we want to continue our constructive approach. In this sense, we have noted the constructive statements of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs today," he added.
Quran courses decision 'ideologicial'
Regarding a court ruling on the closure of Quran courses in the TRNC, Cavusoglu said the decision was an “ideological” one, adding: "It was not given in line with the constitution or its provisions."
Tatar, for his part, expressed "discomfort" over the decision and said the reasoned decision is yet to be announced and that he is waiting for that decision.
"There could never be an instance of closing the Quran courses in the TRNC. I want to stress this right here," he added.
On the upcoming Geneva talks, Tatar said: "Our [TRNC's] sovereignty, independence and Turkey's guarantor position are indispensable matters at Geneva talks.
Noting that "a new policy" has been developed on the Cyprus issue, he said: "For years, efforts have been made with devotion and sacrifice for an agreement on the basis of a federation."
Tatar reminded that the Greek Cypriots, who said no to the Annan Plan in 2004, became an EU member illegally under the name of "the Republic of Cyprus".
In 2004, a plan proposed by then UN chief Kofi Annan to resolve the issue was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots, but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in twin referendums.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The TRNC was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.