Turkish official concerned about talks

July 31, 2008 at 9:14 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, July 31 (UPI) -- A Turkish military official says he is concerned about talks to reunify the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Talks to end the 44-year division of the island are set to begin in September, Hurriyet reported Thursday.

"The talks will start but we must be very careful. I have some personal concerns," Army General Staff Chief Yasar Buyukanit said in Ankara.

The talks were set by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias.

Buyukanit said Turkey supports a fair and lasting solution to a divided Cyprus.

"Turkish Cypriots must be very careful. There could be peace, but it should be fair and lasting," he said. "Those two concepts must be fulfilled. We say this but we don't do this. This is very important."

Turkish troops on the island were there for the security of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, he added.

"If the island is living in peace since the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974, this is because of the Turkish Armed Forces," Buyukanit said.

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