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Annexation of N. Cyprus By Turkey 'On Table' - Bagis

bagisThe annexation of north Cyprus by Turkey is one of the options on the table, said Turkish minister for EU negotiations Egemen Bagis in comments to Turkish-Cypriot daily Kibris.

“Reunification under a deal that [Turkish and Greek Cypriot] leaders could reach, creation of two independent states after an agreement between the two leaders if they are unable to reach a deal for reunification, or annexation of the [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] KKTC to Turkey. These are all options on the table,” Bağış said.

There has already been a backlash against Bagis' comments. Turkish-Cypriot party Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Özkan Yorgancıoğlu said the idea of annexing north Cyprus to Turkey is unacceptable.

Turkey has kept occupation troops in north Cyprus since 1974, and most recently, has proceeded with drilling plans for oil and gas reserves in Famagusta in a tit-for-tat response to the government's natural gas project with Noble Energy in Block 12. Despite pressure from the EU to withdraw its troops, Turkey maintains its grip on the island of Cyprus, the prey no doubt made more attractive by the prospect of natural gas or oil reserves.

President Demetris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are currently in the final phases of reunification talks, trying to reach an agreement on the property issue. Hopes are not high that an agreement can be reached given that the two sides are diametrically opposed on the issue. An estimated 200,000 Greek-Cypriots were forced to abandon their homes in north Cyprus during the 1974 invasion, and their properties were taken over by Turkish-Cypriots or sold to foreigners.

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