Despite decades of division and disagreement, a deal to reunify divided Cyprus could be coming in months, European and Turkish officials said.
Speaking at a Turkey-EU summit in Brussels, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said an agreement is in sight without explaining why.
The EU said it would fast-track Turkish entry into the bloc but’s dependent on reunifying Cyprus, which could veto Ankara’s hopes.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker emphasized that the meeting was the first between Turkey and all 28 members states, and said on Cyprus that “things are moving in the right direction,” but gave no specifics why he’s hopeful.
The optimism though mirrored that of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish counterpart on the island, Mustafa Akinci, who’ve made some symbolic concessions and are stepping up their role in the negotiations.
Turkey though still refuses to recognize Cyprus and bars its ships and planes and keeps a 35,000-strong standing army in the northern third it has unlawfully occupied since invading n 1974.
“There is a clear will to move ahead towards a peaceful and amicable solution,” Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, said on the sidelines of the meeting, Bloomberg reported, sounding like a long line of failed diplomats before him who spoke the same way only to fail.
“Indications are that we could expect some positive news about Cyprus in the near future,” he said, without giving any hint what it could be and how he would know.
Anastasiades and Davutoglu could be seen smiling and chatting during the summit, and stood side-by-side for the traditional “family photo” of the event.
Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 and Turkey has been trying to years to get in but still jails journalists and has a spotty human rights record.