By Fatma Bulbul
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusolu has described Turkey's vision to turn the island of Cyprus into a bastion of peace and stability in an opinion piece in the Washington Times.
The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish population and Turkey’s intervention to protect them.
"My government’s vision for its future involves transforming the island into a bastion of peace, stability, cooperation and economic prosperity," said Cavusoglu in the piece titled "Turkey’s vision for Cyprus".
He acknowledged the complexity of the Cyprus issue as talks of reunification have recently stalled.
The reunification talks -- brokered by UN Special Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide -- were launched in May 2015 to discuss a permanent settlement for the divided Mediterranean island.
Cavusoglu put forth Ankara's idea of a solution.
"The two sides on the island must be politically equal; one side cannot dominate the other or incorporate it as a mere minority. Power has to be shared in a bi-zonal, bi-communal partnership," he wrote.
"Safeguards will be put in place to prevent any recurrence of the tragic events of the past," he added, pointing out the "traumatic experiences" suffered by the Turkish Cypriots at the hands of their Greek counterparts in the sixties and seventies.
He went on to blast the main cause of the suspension of talks, i.e. the Greek Cypriot parliament recently voting to introduce a yearly public school commemoration of a 1950 referendum in which Greek Cypriots voted overwhelmingly for Athens to take over the island, an idea known as Enosis (Union).
"The Greek Cypriots have much to gain if common sense prevails among them. A settlement will bring with it Turkey’s friendship and cooperation, from which Cyprus as a whole will benefit," he wrote.
"There will be no losers here; it will be a textbook case of a win-win situation," he summarized, citing a promise to supply water to the island, new opportunities in hydrocarbon resources exploration and the creation of new shipping routes.
He said that two sides must be politically equal and power had to be shared in a bi-zonal, bi-communal partnership on the island.
"The time has come to go the extra mile, which is the hardest mile of all," he wrote.