UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM CAVUSOGLU
By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) - Any future talks over the divided island of Cyprus must be result-oriented, not just for the sake of talking, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday.
The framework of Cyprus negotiations should be specified before the start of new talks, Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference alongside his Greek counterpart George Katrougalos in Antalya, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
Cavusoglu said Turkey wants a solution for Cyprus that is acceptable to both sides.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
The island has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the collapse of a 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K.
Also speaking on energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Cavusoglu said Turkey has rights there under the international legal framework.
"Any [energy] project which excludes Turkey is not realistic," Cavusoglu stressed.
- Importance of Turkey as guarantor
Cavusoglu said that after getting authorization from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkish companies started exploration around Cyprus.
"In the weeks and months to come, we will also start drilling work," he added.
Cavusoglu said Turkish Cypriots also have rights over the hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus.
"This is accepted by everyone," Cavusoglu stressed.
Cavusoglu said that while Greek Cypriots do unilateral drilling around the island, Turkey being a guarantor power for Cyprus is "more important than ever."
Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly around the divided island of Cyprus.
- Greece closing schools of Turkish minority
On the plight of the Turkish minority in Greece's Western Thrace region, Cavusoglu decried Greece's failure to implement European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings as well as its refusal to recognize the minority's identity as Turks.
Cavusoglu said while Greece is closing Turkish minority schools, Turkey is opening schools for members of the country's Greek Orthodox (Rum) minority even if they have just three or four students.
"Let's sit, talk, and be sincere about the rights of minorities on both sides," he added.
Cavusoglu said that under Justice and Development (AK) Party rule since 2002, many rights were given to minorities in Turkey as well as to the Greek Orthodox Church.
Greece has closed several associations in Western Thrace because they had the word "Turkish" in their names.
Although the ECHR has ruled against Greece on the issue, Athens has failed to implement the rulings.
Greece refuses to recognize that there is a Turkish minority in Greece and recognizes it only by its religious affiliation, as a Muslim minority.
Greece's Western Thrace region is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people.