Turkey will keep on urging Cypriot leaders to continue peace talks for a permanent solution in Cyprus says Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He is trying to allay fears that the newly elected President of northern Cyprus, Dervis Eroglu might obstruct efforts to reunify the island and set back Turkey’s EU hopes.
Speaking on Turkish television he said: “Whoever is elected as President, he should be determined to continue this process. This is a decision taken by Turkey as a guarantor of power. It is necessary to continue this process with Eroglu.”
Eroglu, a veteran nationalist leader has, in the past, strongly opposed the diplomatic process aimed at reunifying the island his predecessor, the outgoing Turkish Cypriot president Mehmet Ali Talat, was engaged in.
Eroglu’s solution would involve separate Greek and Turkish Cypriot states.
Analysts are not convinced Eroglu has had the change of heart necessary to keep the Turkish Prime Minister’s promise.
Ahmet Sozen, professor of international relations at the Eastern Mediterranean University in northern Cyprus said: “Well it’s going to be a more difficult task or more difficult process with Eroglu. I think, because if you look at the track record of Mr Eroglu compared to Mr Talat, he was not so, let’s say, close to the idea of establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus.”
Eroglu himself has assured supporters in the northern Turkish Cypriot half of the island’s divided capital that he will not abandon negotiations aimed at reunification.