UN and EU will be part of talks over divided island of Cyprus in New York, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says, hailing EU's efforts to improve ties with Ankara.

Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks at press conference after his two-day talks with European Union officials in Brussels on January 22, 2021.
Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks at press conference after his two-day talks with European Union officials in Brussels on January 22, 2021. (AA)

Talks over the divided island of Cyprus will be held in New York in the next two months with the participation of the United Nations, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Cavusoglu said on Friday the island's guarantor powers and the United Nations would convene the talks with the two Cypriot sides in late February or early March, with the European Union as an observer.

Speaking in Brussels after talks with senior EU officials, Cavusoglu said the bloc had so far "disregarded the rights of the Turkish side."

"We conveyed to them that this trust needs to be re-established," he added.

"Turkish Cypriots' trust should be won back," said Cavusoglu.

The United Nations has been trying unsuccessfully for decades to reunite Cyprus, split since 1974 after a Greek-inspired coup followed by Turkey's intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK. 

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EU-Turkey ties 

The European Union has shown a positive approach and will to improving ties with Turkey, Cavusoglu said, calling 2020 a "problematic year" that dogged relations between both sides. 

Cavusoglu said, "2020 was a problematic year" for relations between Turkey and the EU but a more positive dialogue has developed since the EU leaders' meeting in December.

"We interpreted the joint statement of the December meeting as a hand extended towards Turkey and we reciprocate it in a positive way," said Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu met a number of top EU officials, including European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The presidents of the European Council and Commission will visit Turkey upon Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's invitation for further talks on Turkey-EU relations, Cavusoglu noted.

"President of the EU Council repeated wish to have a constructive relationship with Turkey but need to see tangible results on the ground," an EU official said, noting that Michel had welcomed an invitation from the Turkish president for a visit to Ankara, with the date and format yet to be hammered out. 

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Migration pact

The migration pact between Turkey and the EU will hit its fifth anniversary in March but there are still parts of the agreement that Cavusoglu said the EU has not fulfilled.

Visa liberalisation and modernisation of Turkey's 1995 Customs Union with the EU were part of this agreement and "unfortunately no steps have been taken in this regard," said Cavusoglu.

"There were 72 criteria for the visa liberalisation and up until last year, we were able to fulfill 66 of them. So, only six were left outstanding, and before coming here we looked into the situation again with some colleagues, and only four are left for the time being," said Cavusoglu.

The minister said he believes the four criteria have not been met yet due to "certain EU countries" who do not wish to "establish visa liberalisation."

Cavusoglu said that Turkey's EU membership process should also be kept alive.

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Source: AA