ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News)–German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent accusation that Ankara was not taking any steps toward a resolution of the Cyprus conflict were a serious letdown for Turkey, its foreign minister said Wednesday.
“Ms. Merkel’s latest statements caused serious disappointment on our part. If Ms. Merkel and Germany exert efforts for peace on the Cyprus issue, we will always support this, but they should first adopt an objective approach between the parties concerned,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference in Ankara.
During her five-hour visit to Greek Cyprus on Tuesday, Merkel criticized Turkey and Turkish Cypriots for not doing enough to reach a deal with Greek Cypriots. Her criticism received a prompt response from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“I guess Ms. Merkel has forgotten what she has said. It was she herself who said it was wrong to admit Greek Cyprus into the European Union. But now, she pays a visit to the Greek Cypriot administration and makes such a statement,” Erdoğan said in Qatar. “It is also clear that she does not know the history of the Cyprus issue.”
After meeting with Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias, Merkel said Turkey needed to show more willingness to reach a settlement on the Cyprus dispute. If Merkel had talked to former Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, she would have known who was responsible for the Cyprus issue, Erdoğan said.
“I call on the chancellor to research the history and sit down for tea with Gerhard Schroder,” the Turkish prime minister said.
Asked to comment on Merkel’s views, Davutoğlu said Germany is one of the allies in which Turkey places the most importance. “Positive initiatives that have been taken over the last two years have come from the Turkish side. If Ms. Merkel had talked to the two parties, she would not be making one-sided statements,” he said in Ankara.
“We trust her and her leadership. I hope that in the upcoming period she also listens to the Turkish side and adopt a fair and objective approach,” Davutoğlu said. “We believe that Germany can play an important role but this role cannot be played by listening to one side.”
Referring to Merkel’s appreciation of the steps taken by the Greek Cypriots, Davutoğlu responded in an ironic tone. “Yes, the Greek Cypriots have expended efforts. They expended efforts for the rejection of the Annan plan,” he said, referring to the 2004 referendum when Turks on the island voted for the plan while Greeks rejected it.