Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has been defending Ankara’s proposals on settling the Cyprus issue in an interview with EuroNews.
He said their offer of opening up travel through Turkey for Greek Cypriots in return for restrictions on Turkish Cypriots being lifted was fair.
“We are offering to open our seaports, airports and also remove all kinds of restrictions – in return we wish to see the Greek Cypriot side also end the economic embargo imposed on the Turkish side. This is going to be the test of the sincerity of the Greek Cypriot side, if they are really committed to a comprehensive solution or not,” he said.
Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island after Greek-Cypriots staged an attempted coup.
The Greek Cypriots rejected a Unitd Nations peace plan in May 2004 because they hoped to get a better deal after joining Europe.
Gul was asked if Ankara felt the Turkish military presence in northern Cyprus was still justified.
“Last year the Greek Cypriot side rejected the Annan plan,” he replied. “They stopped the withdrawal of the Turkish forces there. They are the guarantor of the Turkish people there, and there is an agreement for that, the internationalguarantor’s agreement. But unfortunately by rejecting the Annan plan the Greek Cypriot side blocked this withdrawal, it’s not our fault.”