Diplomatic sources in Ankara have spoken of Turkish “disappointment” over stalled peace talks on the divided island of Cyprus.
Turkey's foreign minister was meeting Ergun Olgun, a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) negotiator, on Tuesday in Ankara amid a crisis in the Cyprus issue.
Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey's goodwill in negotiations to Olgun; the TRNC negotiator said Turkish Cypriots would always be ready to continue talks over the disputed island, diplomatic sources said.
The Greek Cypriot administration suspended negotiations last month in response to Turkey sending a warship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the Cyprus coast.
The diplomatic source added that in today’s closed meeting it was remarked that the Greek Cypriot side caused "disappointment" in suspending talks over Turkish Cypriots’ resource exploration on the island.
In October, TRNC President Dervis Eroglu said that the Greek Cypriot side had left the negotiation table "as if it were the first time Turkish vessels sailed the Mediterranean or Turkey's seismic vessels surveyed for the first time in Cyprus waters."
Turkish Cypriots have rights on the Mediterranean and the island just like Greek Cypriots, the TRNC leader said, adding that the Turkish Cypriot government has given Turkey the authority to do seismic surveys in the region on their behalf.
Talks over the future of the island remain dogged by the small country’s troubled past.
In 1960, a 'Treaty Concerning the Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus' – commonly known as the 'Treaty of Guarantee' – was signed between Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The treaty banned the island of Cyprus from participating in any political or economic union with another state as well as making other parties guarantee its independence, territorial integrity and security.
However, in 1963, only three years after the treaty was signed, Turkish Cypriots were ousted by force from all organs of the new republic by their Greek Cypriot partners, which violated founding agreements and the country’s constitution.
Greek Cypriots thereafter claimed to represent the ‘Republic of Cyprus,’ which was considered illegal by Ankara and remains unrecognized by Turkey.
Between 1964 and 1974, the international community made several peacemaking efforts, all of which ended in failure.
In 1974, an attempt was made by Greek Cypriots to forcibly join the island to Athens through ‘enosis’ [union] via a coup attempt. 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, while continuing the search for reconciliation.
The European Union recognizes the Greek Cypriot administration on the island.
In 2004, Cypriots went to the polls to decide on the so-called ‘Annan Plan’, which was a UN proposal to resolve the dispute by restructuring the island as a ‘United Republic of Cyprus.’ In effect, it proposed a federation of two states that aimed to unify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.
The proposal was revised five times before it was put to a referendum in April 2004 and was supported by 65% of Turkish Cypriots. However, only 24% of Greek Cypriots backed the plan, claiming that the proposal favored Turkish Cypriots, so the stalemate continued.
Negotiations between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013. The previous round of talks collapsed partly because of the Eurozone debt crisis impact on the government in Nicosia.
However, the Greek Cypriot administration suspended the most recent talks on October 7 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the Cyprus coast.