Greek Cyprus head ‘missed peace call’

Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias’ refusal of an offer to watch a football match together with European Union Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis is actually a loss for the Greek Cypriot leader himself, Bagis has said.

“He couldn’t see the positive image it would convey to world; and to Greek and Turkish Cypriots,” Bagis, who is also Turkey’s chief negotiator in its EU membership negotiations, said yesterday, responding to reporters’ questions as he received the mayor of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, Asim Guzelbey.

Turkish soccer team Fenerbahçe will play Greek Cypriot club AEL Limassol in the Europa League. Bagis had unofficially invited Christofias to İstanbul -- albeit with one condition: “He must sit at the same table with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Dervis Eroglu.”

The game is scheduled for Nov. 8, 2012. Last week Christofias’ spokesperson issued a written statement declaring Bagis’s invitation “far from serious.” “It was a sincere invitation. It was based on the idea that important messages could be delivered via sports, because it is an antidote to any discrimination,” Bagis said, adding that the Greek Cypriot government had formerly refused all of Turkey’s comprehensive and sustainable offers regarding the island.

Bagis also made it clear that he would not run as a candidate for mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on his own initiative.

Copyright © 2012 Anadolu Agency