Turkish President Abdullah Gul has urged for a solution to be found on the divided island of Cyprus, speaking at a ceremony in Nicosia to mark the 40th anniversary of Turkey's military intervention on July 20, 1974, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"The Cyprus problem has been on the agenda of the international community since 1963, when the Greek Cypriots attempted to seize control of the Cyprus and exclude Turkish Cypriots from the mutual state in 1960. There are hardly any disputes across the world, which have not ended in past 50 years.
Thus, it is high time to solve this issue," Gul said during the ceremony, which was held in Dr. Fazil Kucuk Boulevard in Nicosia with the presence of Turkish Cypriot President Dervish Eroglu.
"The negotiation process restarted this year on Feb. 11, following elections on the Greek side. The expectations for a solution in the international community have given hope to the Turkish side. But political will and determination is needed in order to realize these expectations. The international community, particularly the European Union, has to keep its promises. It is not possible to explain the practices that violate the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in any political, legal or humanitarian point of view," Gul said underlining the growing expectations for a solution.
Gul also said that the Turkish Cypriots will not leave their demands behind during the peace process.
"From now on, nobody should expect the Turkish Cypriots to withdraw from their rights to be the mutual owners of the island or live as a minority group in a Greek Cypriot state," he also added.
Gul also praised northern Cyprus for becoming a state on its own despite all the difficulties it had faced.
Eroglu, on his part, said that July 20 is the day when the Turkish Cypriots were reborn. Speaking of a tunnel project that will transport water from turkey to northern Cyprus via tunnels under the Mediterranean sea, Eroglu said that they are expecting to see the completion of the "century's project" very soon.
"We hope to increase our national income thanks to this water project," said Eroglu.
Turkey's military intervention in Cyprus on July 20, 1974, following a coup that brought a hardline Greek administration to power on the island, resulted in the division of Cyprus and led to decades of scarce contact. Greek Cypriots rejected a peace plan in 2004 shortly after becoming an EU member, even after the Turkish community agreed to establish a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots.