Ankara, Turkey – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says sovereign equality must be negotiated, 2-state solution in Cyprus.

The foreign ministers of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday invited Greece for exploratory talks with the first meeting scheduled in January 2021.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Tahsin Ertugruloglu took questions from reporters at a joint news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Cavusoglu stressed that sovereign equality must be negotiated and that there must be a two-state solution in Cyprus. He stated the stance of Turkey and the TRNC was very clear on the issue.

“We are making efforts to holistically explain our stance to all segments,” he said, adding that the issue had come to the fore in all his recent visits, especially in Portugal, Madrid and EU countries.

“The process of inter-communal negotiations in Cyprus is over and the discussion on a federation is out of question,” Ertugruloglu said on his part.

According to Turkish Cypriot presidential sources, TRNC President Ersin Tatar is expected to meet UN special envoy on Cyprus Jane Holl Lute on Monday afternoon.

Tatar is expected to convey clear and determined messages to Lute about the Turkish side’s stance before a possible negotiation process that could begin on the Mediterranean island, according to the sources.

The Turkish Cypriot leader will explain in detail the model based on two separate states on the basis of sovereign equality advocated by the Turkish side on the Cyprus issue.

During the meeting, he is expected to tell the UN envoy that the negotiations cannot start from where they left off in Crans-Montana, Switzerland and talks on a new federation are out of the question.

Lute will meet Greek Cypriot administration leader Nicos Anastasiades on Monday morning.

The meetings will come ahead of an expected 5 + 1 informal meeting on Cyprus which is planned to be held under the leadership of the UN soon.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and 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. The TRNC was founded in 1983.