Turkish troops will never leave Cyprus: Eroglu

Turkish Cypriot President says Turkish troops' presence on divided island is red line for Turkey

Turkish Cypriot President says Turkish troops' presence on divided island is red line for Turkey

LEFKOSA - At the end of Wednesday's preliminary talks on the Cyprus issue, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Dervis Eroglu refuted earlier rumors that Turkish troops will leave the island.

"The presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus is a red line for Turkey and it will never approve their withdrawal," Eroglu stressed.

Their presence complies with the agreement between Turkey, the United Kingdom and Greece, which appoints the three states as guarantors of the island’s two communities, Eroglu told the Anadolu Agency.

Noting that the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities is among the biggest issues causing deadlock in Cyprus talks, Eroglu added, "[Greek Cypriots] recognize our sovereignty, because the sovereignty of the unified Cyprus will be guaranteed by the two founder states - that is the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot states."

TRNC chief negotiator Kudret Ozersay and the Greek Cypriot administration's negotiator Andreas Mavroyannis met at a United Nations-controlled buffer zone on the island.

Negotiations over Cyprus are set to resume after a 2004 deal put forward by former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities was defeated by a "no" vote in a referendum held in the Greek Cypriot administration. The Turkish Cypriots had voted in favor of the Annan plan.

A joint declaration announced by the UN mission in Cyprus on February 11 said a settlement between the two sides “will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality."

A solution would also be expected to address issues such as the constitutional framework, territorial adjustments, return of property to pre-1974 owners and/or compensation payments, return of displaced persons, and residency rights/repatriation of Turkish settlers.

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