President Abdullah Gul said on Monday (July 13th) that Turkey wants to see Cypriot reunification talks concluded soon and a referendum held by the end of the year, media reported. “Our ultimate goal is to reach a lasting settlement on the island and to create a separate area of co-operation between Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and the EU,” Gul told a joint press conference after meeting visiting Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
Separately Monday, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias rejected any reunification deal that would allow Turkey to keep its guarantor status on the island and the right to military intervention. “Greek Cypriots don’t want the island to remain under guardianship,” he said. Ankara has insisted that security guarantees be a part of any reunification deal that would empower Turkey to intervene should Turkish Cypriots come under the threat of an attack.