By Merve Berker and Enes Kaplan
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey expects the actors involved in the Cyprus issue to help find a solution to the long-standing dispute on the island, rather than drag the process into a deadlock, the Turkish National Security Council said on Thursday.
*** "Laid out by Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), an equal, sovereign, independent two-state solution will contribute to the peace and prosperity of both communities on the island," said a written statement released after the council meeting, which had convened under the chairmanship of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Ankara.
*** "Actors who are parties to the Cyprus issue have been invited to be part of the solution, rather than insisting on their uncompromising approach," added the statement.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Touching on ongoing wildfires in southern Turkey that have been burning for more than a week, the statement said that efforts to contain the flames were reviewed at the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, along with "disinformation campaigns" and additional measures.
According to official figures, at least eight people have lost their lives since the fires started in southern coastal areas last Wednesday.
*** On the PKK terror group, the statement condemned countries that protect the terrorists and "encourage them to continue their attacks against peace and stability in our region" despite all of Turkey's well-intentioned warnings.
*** "States that use terrorism as a foreign policy tool and establish illegitimate relations with terrorist organizations have been reminded that it is inevitable that their attitude will have devastating consequences on their territory," the statement said.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
*** It also noted that steps taken as part of the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) were being evaluated on the fifth anniversary of its 2016 defeated coup attempt.
*** "It has been emphasized that the activities aimed at eliminating this network of betrayal, together with all its elements at home and abroad, will be carried out with determination and no compromise via all the institutions and facilities of our state."
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
The statement also said that Turkey urged Armenia to abandon its "aggressive rhetoric and actions and to adhere to its commitments and to develop cooperation with the countries of the region."
*** Armenia must use the current opportunity for peace and stability that has emerged after a long time in the South Caucasus, it added.
This came after a Russia-brokered cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan last year ended clashes that had erupted over the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenia's almost three-decade occupation.