UN Secretary-General Urges Turkey To Solve Problems With Armenia, Cyprus

ISTANBUL (AP)–U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday praised Turkey’s contributions to world peace but encouraged it to be more active in solving its own conflicts with Armenia and Cyprus.

Turkey said Monday it would not ratify a deal to normalize ties with Armenia until Armenian withdrew from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. On Cyprus, it insists on the lifting of what it calls an unofficial trade embargo on the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in return for opening Turkey’s ports to ships and planes from Cyprus.

“Let us build on your new diplomatic relations with Armenia,” Ban said in an address at Istanbul’s prestigious Bogazici University. “And let us seize the opportunity in Cyprus. Talks resume next week. A convergence of views is taking shape. We should seize this critical moment.”

The division of Cyprus — between an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north — is complicating Turkey’s own accession negotiation in the European Union. The Mediterranean island split in 1974, when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

“The leaders of the two communities should make a decision, people have suffered too much, too long,” Ban said. “I hope they will be able to make a decision based on compromise and flexibility. This is what international community really wants.”

On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara was prepared to allow planes and ships from Cyprus to use its ports and airspace if the embargo was lifted, allowing Turkish Cypriots to trade through its ports of Kyrenia and Famagusta and through Ercan airport in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia.

“The world will open three ports to the Turkish Cypriots, we in Turkey will open all our ports to Greek Cypriots. It’s a promise,” he said.

Ban arrived in Istanbul to attend an international conference focusing on restoring order in Somalia — gripped by anarchy and political turmoil. High level officials met Friday in a preliminary session to lay the ground for Saturday’s conference, which will be attended by Ban and Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.

Somalia has been mired in anarchy since 1991, allowing piracy to flourish off its shores. Ahmed on Thursday reversed his decision to fire the country’s prime minister amid divisions over how to combat Islamic insurgents allegedly linked to al-Qaida, saying there is need for unity.

The conference is co-hosted by the United Nations and Turkey, which is keen to expand relations with African nations.

Ban welcomed Turkey’s hosting of the conference as well as its participation in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon and Afghanistan. He said Turkey’s mediation efforts in the nuclear standoff with Iran and attempts to work out territorial disputes with Greece had opened “channels of communication that might otherwise close.”

Turkey and Brazil on Wednesday urged the U.N. Security Council to refrain from more sanctions for Iran, saying a compromise they brokered this week is the best way to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“We hope that this and other initiatives may open the door to a negotiated settlement,” Ban said. “The International Atomic Energy Agency will provide its own professional assessment, of course.”

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  1. john papazian said:

    Praise for Turkeys contribution to..what? Come on Hi.C,even Bill would call out the UN on that one.Does Armenia have any hope for at least getting the time of day from the west or the US State Dept?Mediation efforts in a nuclear standoff,more like helping the Iranian Guard build a bomb.I can only hope that Gates is not as dumb as the UN.Every American should know what will happen next.Isreal will attack Iran and the Turks will help defend Iran.When America comes to Isreals defence,the Iranians will be firing TURKISH MISSLES at AMERICANS.But thats alright,maybe Americans just don’t care anymore.

  2. Zarehit said:

    Words in the air?… Does he have any autority… can he make things happen? He also condemned strongly Israel for their treatment of the Palestinians, how did that help?

  3. Zareh said:

    Words in the air? Does he have any autority? Can he make things happen? He also condemned strongly Israel for their treatment of the Palestinians, how did that help?

  4. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon resembles the Armenian illegal President Mr. Sarksyan. Both of them are footballs in the so-called football diplomacy, both of them are satanically fearful, both of them have tartar origins. The only difference is that Ban Ki Moon is legitimate whereas Mr. Sarksyan is illegitimate.

  5. manooshag said:

    Hye, why UN Secy/General Ban Ki Moon, like so many, first gives praise to Turks and then must also give praise for the ‘alleged’ “Turkeys efforts for world peace”… Where in the world has a Turkey completed anything, even PLOYS, that resembles efforts for world peace – ending any wars/avoiding any wars/Genocides. A need to ‘gently’ handle any approaches to the Turkish leaderships – is now evident with ALL nations that deal with a Turkey – out of respect? fear? out of what?
    A Turkey, itself, is not anywhere near to even being a democracy – as evidenced in the treatments of even their own Turkish citizens.. As in the fairy tale of the Emporer’s clothes – democracy ain’t there!

  6. Ilter said:

    @ manooshag : have you ever been in Turkey ? no offense, really !

    In Turkey; yes, we have conflicts -serious ones- but that does not necessarily mean that there is no democracy in Turkey.

    We have freedom of speech, we have fully functional 100% legitimate political system including electoral system -it seems unfortunately, situation is different in Armenia as far as i can observer from abroad-, We have pressure groups like TUSIAD, MUSIAD… so many powerful NGOs, associations… Our political system gives a great equal chance to all of it’s citizens to become a President one day -unlike so many western democracies- It’s not perfect, we also have potential development needs in our democracy but it’s quite good :)

  7. john papazian said:

    Freedom of speech in Turkey? So much as metion historical fact and you go to prison.Convert to Christianity and you go to prison or get exicuted,write a book and receive death threats,anymore examples of freedom in Turkey reqired?

  8. Alex Postallian said:

    Ilter: turkey is for the turks,for anybody else it is terrible,their past history is proof positive.They lie about the past,lie about the future.Nobody wants to go there,a sewer.The biggest lie is the Armenian Genocide,secondly nick name they picked up in WW1,YELLOW STAIN.They were part of the Axis viz Germany/Austria.When they were soundly beaten by a equal force of Allies,they grovelled,TURNED YELLOW,and joined the Allies.Hence forth OLD YELLOW STAIN turkey.Thats your heritage,you were never told the true history of jerky,I mean turkey.