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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On Cyprus, political reconciliation must prevail

- - Thursday, November 21, 2013

In a commentary piece ("Cyprus rides a troubled sea of oil and gas opportunity," Nov. 6), Daniel Pipes conjures up a fantasy that Greek Cyprus is about to be invaded, either by Turkish soldiers or Syrian refugees, or both, without offering even a scintilla of evidence.

Mr. Pipes also dismisses my country as a "Turkish puppet state" without informing his readers why the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded, let alone the steps successive governments have undertaken in the pursuit of political reconciliation with our Greek Cypriot neighbors and the latter's adamant rejection of every such attempt.

Contrary to Mr. Pipes' wild assertions, the exploration and extraction of natural gas taking place underneath the Levant Basin presents a golden opportunity for a peaceful settlement on our island, provided that the inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriots as regards to this natural resource is recognized and respected.

We and our neighbors must focus on finding a solution to the 50-year-old Cyprus problem, not exacerbate it further, as a comprehensive agreement will enable peaceful and prosperous exploration and extraction of the region's natural resources.

In order to make this happen, we need a Greek Cypriot commitment to quit its persistent stalling and commit to finding a settlement. The past several years have been frustrating for the Turkish Cypriot people aspiring for a mutually agreed settlement with our neighbors. Fortunately, current U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been pushing for a new round of talks, and we and Turkey fervently hope that the Greek Cypriot leaders will drop their preconditions and join us at the negotiating table with the goal of reaching a comprehensive agreement by the middle of 2014.

Ahmet Erdengiz
Representative of the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus
Washington