Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meeting new Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, said Greek Cypriots are at fault for a failure to negotiate talks to reunify the island.
Cyprus has been divided since an unlawful 1974 invasion by Turkey, which still keeps a standing army in the norther third it occupies.
Addressing a joint press conference with Akinci, Erdogan said: “Greek Cypriots should no longer make things difficult. Instead, they need to put in a sincere effort. If this happens, we believe 2015 will be the ‘solution year’ for Cyprus,” the Anadolu news agency reported.
He also said that to resolve the Cyprus issue that Greece “should make the necessary contribution for solution,” and join efforts with Turkey. “We will continue to encourage Greece in this regard,” Erdogan added.
Decades of negotiations between the sides has failed to make a single step of progress but hopes have risen with the election of the moderate Akinci, although Erdogan previously rebuked him for saying he wanted some distance from Ankara.
Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have tried to find a comprehensive settlement to renew their partnership since a joint government on the island collapsed in 1963.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades earlier suspended talks with then-Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu after Turkey sent a warship and energy research vessel into Cypriot waters in search of oil and gas.
He said he would agree to a resumption of talks after Turkey withdrew the ships and then Akinci defeated Eroglu in the Presidential race.