Ankara ready to talk with Cyprus

May 21, 2010 at 1:31 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 21 (UPI) -- Ankara is ready to move closer to southern Cyprus provided the good-will gesture is reciprocated, the Turkish foreign minister said Friday in Istanbul.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a Friday speech at the Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary assembly in Ankara said Ankara was ready to "open its doors" to southern Cyprus, Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet reports.

Davutoglu said Ankara and the government in north Cyprus were ready to find a common solution to lingering problems.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met last week in Athens with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to discuss regional issues.

Despite being NATO allies, both sides approached the brink of war in the 1970s and 1990s over disputes related to the divided island of Cyprus.

Ankara has moved on a series of concessions meant to meet the policy requirements to join Europe but faces obstacles on various provisions over the island of Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided into a Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied north since 1974. Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.

Davutoglu added that the government in Ankara was pursuing a foreign policy based on having "zero problems" with its Mediterranean and Middle East neighbors.

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