By Tugrul Cam and Zehra Nur Duz
ANKARA / NEW YORK (AA) - Turkey has long supported efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, but before any new negotiations, the sides must identify the framework for a solution, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Tuesday.
The remarks came at the UN building in New York, on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting, when Mevlut Cavusoglu came across Nikos Christodoulides, Greek Cyprus’ top diplomat.
When Christodoulides proposed that Cavusoglu agree to a federation model for Cyprus and extended his hand, Cavusoglu declined, saying: “First we need to decide what we are going to negotiate on, a two-state solution or something else?”
Claiming that a shared federation is the only solution to the Cyprus issue, Christodoulides said: “Forget two state or confederation.”
Stressing the importance of a “result-oriented” process, Cavusoglu said Turkey has long supported all efforts for a solution on the island, including the 2004 Annan plan -- which Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) supported, but Greek Cyprus rejected -- and the 2017 talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Cavusoglu said "new options" should be evaluated after the latest negotiation process ended without an outcome.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure.
The latest, in 2017 in Crans-Montana, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in failure.
In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.
Talks have focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots’ intransigence and rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.
In a recent report, current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said that "new ideas" may be needed for a settlement on the island.