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NGOs view PM Tsipras meeting as positive

5 February 2015

Representatives of Turkish Cypriot civilian organisations commented on their recent meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his visit to Cyprus.

They said that Prime Minister Tsipras’ meeting with Turkish Cypriots was something positive and had a symbolic meaning. They went on to express their hopes for similar meetings with officials from Turkey when they visit the island.

Dogus Derya, who represents the Feminist Atelier (FEMA) said that firstly they had held a sincere and warm meeting and pointed out that this was the first time a Greek Prime Minister had met with Turkish Cypriot NGO representatives, something which indicates the will of the Greek Prime Minister for a federal solution. She said that they all had the chance to talk for about two minutes each and expressed the belief that this was a “good step towards Turkish-Greek peace”.

Okan Dagli, representing the Famagusta Initiative also noted that the meeting was a first time event and pointed out that never before had a Greek Prime Minister met with NGO’s. He noted that this was a symbolic meeting and that Prime Minister Tsipras talked only for about five minutes during the 40-50 minute-meeting. Dagli said that he had invited Tsipras to Famagusta and Tsipras asked him whether Turks and Greeks live together in Famagusta. “When I told him that we continued living there after our Greek neighbours left, he was surprised. I think he had a different concept of Famagusta”, he noted,¬†describing their meeting as “very positive” and wishing that the officials from Turkey would meet with NGO’s.

Niyazi Kizilyurek, representative of the Federal Cyprus Initiative, said that lessons should be learned from this meeting adding that NGO’s should be active in the quest for a solution in Cyprus. “After this gesture by Tsipras”, he added, “the administrators of Turkey should undertake similar initiatives”.

Meltem Onurkan Samani, representative of the Historical Dialogue and Research Association, said that all the Turkish and Greek leaders pay their first visit abroad to Cyprus, but the difference in this case was the fact that Prime Minister Tsipras met with bi-communal NGO’s. She noted that even foreigners want to listen to NGO’s, but the Turkish Embassy keeps its distance from such meetings.

Source Yeni Duzen

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