LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - Turkey expects that the Cyprus issue can be resolved within the next 12 months, said Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Wednesday.
"As a guarantor state, Turkey sincerely expects that a political solution negotiated on the basis of the will of both [the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot] communities can be found within the next year,” Yildirim told a joint news conference with the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci .
Saying that a lasting solution is possible only “through the understanding of an equal partnership, and a belief in a common future,” Yildirim reiterated Turkey’s commitment to the process, and continued support to the Turkish Cypriot side.
Akinci, for his part, said that the next seven months were “critical”, as Cyprus has entered a “historically significant period”.
The Turkish Cypriot leader stressed the importance of making the best use of this time so as not to “lose the opportunity to find a resolution”.
"We are ready to continue to do our best in order to bring about an agreement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal, and politically equal federation,” he said.
Akinci praised Turkey’s support in the matter and called on all other related parties, including Greece in particular, to contribute to finding a fair resolution at the earliest.
Asked if the "crisis" with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades was over, after the latter cancelled a planned meeting last week, Akinci said there was no actual crisis, but "an artificially created situation".
“We expect Anastasiades to contact both us and the UN and propose a date for a new meeting,” he said, adding he would be meeting Anastasiades on Thursday at an event celebrating June 1, International Children’s Day.
“Fifty students each from the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides will come together in the buffer zone. I hope this meeting will lay the basis for restarting talks,” he said.
The two leaders had planned to meet last Friday, but the meeting was cancelled after Anastasiades refused to attend a dinner hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, after being told that Akinci was also invited.
He also cut short his trip to Istanbul over this perceived protocol breach.
Anastasiades also cancelled a meeting set for last Thursday with Special UN Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide.
Reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015 when the newly elected Akinci met with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Anastasiades.
Previous negotiations stalled in October 2014 due to a dispute over underwater gas exploration.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.