Greek Prime Minister breaks with tradition by meeting Turkish Cypriots

The new Greek PM’s encouraging gestures during his Cyprus visit should not make one forget that equitable sharing of energy resources is key to a solution on the island, says the Turkish government

Alexis Tsipras, 41-year-old revolutionary leader of the anti-austerity party Syriza, who has recently been elected Greek Prime Minister, has broken with Greek tradition and become the first prime minister to pay a visit to the Cyprus Turks, which has come as a surprise to many.

Tsipras made his first visit abroad to Greek Cyprus on Monday, in a bid to underscore the historical ties between Greece and Greek Cyprus.

He said that Greece’s support to Greek Cyprus will continue in Cyprus reunification talks as he underscored that a just and sustainable solution on the island is of the utmost importance for Turkish-Greek relations, the EU and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

During his visit to Greek Cyprus, Tsipras also had talks with Cyprus Turks, marking the first Greek prime minister to meet with Turks in Cyprus.

Tsipras met with the Turks in the hotel he was staying at. The meeting between Tsipras and the Turkish guests was held in positive a atmosphere. Tsipras asked the members of the non-governmental organization Famagusta Initiative to contribute to the solution to reunite the divided island of Cyprus.

A Cyprus Turk, Niyazi Kızılyürek who participated in the meeting chaired by the Greek Prime Minister, spoke to Daily Sabah, sharing impressions taken during the talks.

Kızılyürek said that during their meeting, the Cyprus Turks had a chance to convey the problems of the Turks residing in the island.

Okan Dağlı, another Turk who attended the meeting with Tsipras noted it went well and that Tsipras’s profile was distinct from the previous prime ministers of Greece.

“The meeting may only be symbolic but it marks the first in history. Many prime ministers arrived here but none spared time for us. They did not even accept our request to meet. This is a significant occasion. Means to defuse the problem between the two communities in Cyprus were discussed. We came to the conclusion that solution serves the benefit of both sides.” Dağlı said.

Tsipras had a memorial photograph taken with the Cyprus Turks following the meeting .

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