Turkey says talks on federal model for Cyprus 'futile'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday that United Nations-sponsored initiatives based on a federal model for Cyprus have been futile and Turkey cannot wait for another 50 years for a solution, Yeni Akit reported.

"The two-sided, bi-communal federal model, which has been negotiated for decades, has not brought a solution to the Cyprus issue. It is obvious that it will not bring a solution after today," Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with Yeni Akit.

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 Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.

"However, there is a problematic mentality on the island that does not see Turkish Cypriot society as equal and even ignores them. The purpose of this mentality is not sharing but domination," he said.

"We do not have another 50 years to lose."

Turkey has begun voicing a possible two-state deal as an alternative to the long-held federal model for Cyprus.

Turkey, Cyprus and Greece have been locked in escalating tensions since last year when Turkish vessels set out to explore for hydrocarbons in what is currently recognised as Cypriot and Greek exclusive economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean.

The minister said Greece must abandon its “maximalist" approach and pre-conditions as a prerequisite for dialogue to begin over the growing row over eastern Mediterranean natural gas.

"Despite their hardliner attitudes, we emphasize at every opportunity that we are open to dialogue. We intend to start exploratory talks," he said.