On Cyprus, po­lit­i­cal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion must pre­vail

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

In a com­men­tary piece (“Cyprus rides a trou­bled sea of oil and gas op­por­tu­nity,” Nov. 6), Daniel Pipes con­jures up a fan­tasy that Greek Cyprus is about to be in­vaded, ei­ther by Turk­ish sol­diers or Syr­ian refugees, or both, with­out of­fer­ing even a scin­tilla of ev­i­dence.

Mr. Pipes also dis­misses my coun­try as a “Turk­ish pup­pet state” with­out in­form­ing his read­ers why the Turk­ish Repub­lic of North­ern Cyprus was founded, let alone the steps suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have un­der­taken in the pur­suit of po­lit­i­cal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with our Greek Cypriot neigh­bors and the lat­ter’s adamant re­jec­tion of ev­ery such at­tempt.

Con­trary to Mr. Pipes’ wild as­ser­tions, the ex­plo­ration and ex­trac­tion of nat­u­ral gas tak­ing place un­der­neath the Le­vant Basin presents a golden op­por­tu­nity for a peace­ful set­tle­ment on our is­land, pro­vided that the in­alien­able rights of the Turk­ish Cypri­ots as re­gards to this nat­u­ral re­source is rec­og­nized and re­spected.

We and our neigh­bors must fo­cus on find­ing a so­lu­tion to the 50-year-old Cyprus prob­lem, not ex­ac­er­bate it fur­ther, as a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment will en­able peace­ful and pros­per­ous ex­plo­ration and ex­trac­tion of the re­gion’s nat­u­ral re­sources.

In or­der to make this hap­pen, we need a Greek Cypriot com­mit­ment to quit its per­sis­tent stalling and com­mit to find­ing a set­tle­ment. The past sev­eral years have been frus­trat­ing for the Turk­ish Cypriot peo­ple as­pir­ing for a mu­tu­ally agreed set­tle­ment with our neigh­bors. For­tu­nately, cur­rent U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon has been push­ing for a new round of talks, and we and Tur­key fer­vently hope that the Greek Cypriot lead­ers will drop their pre­con­di­tions and join us at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble with the goal of reach­ing a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment by the mid­dle of 2014.

AH­MET ERDENGIZ

Wash­ing­ton

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