Turkey’s Çavuşoğlu urges ‘sovereign equality’ in solving Cyprus issue

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Tuesday underlined the need for negotiations based on sovereign equality to resolve the dispute over the divided island of Cyprus.

There can be two states on the island  “if there is sovereign equality,” state-run Anadolu news agency cited Çavuşoğlu as saying during a joint news conference with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar in Lefkoşa.

Half of the eastern Mediterranean issue over hydrocarbon resources would be solved if a solution were found for sharing revenues of natural resources in Cyprus, the Turkish foreign minister said.

Turkey is locked in a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, with Ankara holding conflicting views from Athens and Nicosia over how far its continental shelf extends in the waters.

The TRNC Presidency in a statement on Tuesday echoed Çavuşoğlu’s remarks.

The Greek Cypriot administration has for over a century sought to establish domination on the island and the region, “making inevitable the need for establishing a relationship based on sovereign equality and equal international status,’’ the presidency said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the TRNC, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.

Tatar, who is pro-Turkey and wants Cyprus to betwo separate states, was elected presidentof TRNC in October.