Turkey Lauds Biden Cyprus Visit

NICOSIA — Turkey’s Foreign Minister says U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to ethnically split Cyprus next week sends an important message of American support for renewed talks aimed at unifying the island.

Ahmet Davutoglu says Biden’s three-day trip — the first by a U.S. Vice President in 52 years — “isn’t an ordinary visit.”

Davutoglu was speaking at a press conference May 17 after talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the Turkish-Cypriot declaration of independence and maintains 35,000 troops in the breakaway north.

Negotiations resumed in February after the two sides agreed on a joint statement outlining key principles of an envisioned federation.