Turkey would consider annexing northern Cyprus if talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots failed to reach a deal on reunification of the island, Turkey's European Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis told a Turkish Cypriot newspaper.
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Turkey has stationed troops in northern Cyprus after its invasion in 1974 following a coup in the island. Turkish Northern Cyprus is only recognized by Ankara. The dispute took a serious turn in September 2011 after a gas dispute erupted between the countries.
Bagis told Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris that Turkey would support any agreement reached by the two sides, but said that was only one of several possible outcomes.
Bagis said Reunification of the island is possible, if the leaders could reach an agreement. "Creation of two independent states… or annexation of the KKTC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) to Turkey, these options are on the table," Bagis told Kibris during an interview in London.
Many Turkish Cypriots oppose the notion of annexation. Turkey's NTV news channel quoted Ozkan Yorganciogly, leader of the main opposition Republican Turks Party (CTP), as saying the idea was unacceptable.
Cyprus, governed by a Greek Cypriot administration and a member of the European Union, has used the dispute to slow Turkey's efforts to join the bloc.
Frustrated by the lack of progress, Turkey has said if there was no solution by July 1 when Cyprus takes over the European Union presidency; it would suspend dialogue until the presidency passes to another EU member in 2013.
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