Turkish Cypriot President wants end to island dispute

LEFKOSA – President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Dervis Eroglu said Monday he favored peace on the divided island and hoped for an agreement between the Turkish and Greek sides as they are in renewed negotiations for a political solution to the long-running dispute.

“Our goal is to reach an agreement, leaving behind the Cyprus issue,” said Eroglu, during the opening ceremony of the fifth national education council in more than three decades.

Eroglu said that an agreement would be easy if the Greek Cypriots change their attitude towards Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides began fresh negotiations last month for a political solution.

The two leaders announced a joint declaration on unifying the island under a federation of two states. A similar deal in 2004 failed after Greek Cypriots refused it.

The island of Cyprus has remained divided into Greek and Turkish parts since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974. Turkey keeps 30,000 troops in the north.

The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the European Union and is internationally recognized except by Turkey, which is the only country that recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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