ANKARA, Feb 1: Turkish Cypriots may agree to give up a certain portion of territory to the rival Greek Cypriot side in order to facilitate a peace deal on the divided Mediterranean island, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"A positive approach could be shown to facilitate the resolution of the territory issue," Erdogan was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying late on Saturday when asked whether the Turkish side would agree to cede territory.
He said in remarks to reporters in Boston at the end of a six-day official trip to the United States that the portion of land to be given away would be determined in possible peace negotiations.
In a major breakthrough, Turkey last week asked UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to revive talks on a peace plan he drew up in order to re-unite the island before it joins the European Union on May 1.
Talks on the so-called Annan plan, which envisages territorial adjustments in favour of the Greek Cypriot majority, broke down in March last year with the international community laying the blame on arch-nationalist Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Denktash announced earlier this week that he was ready to return to the negotiating table, but expressed doubt that a deal could emerge by May.
The European Union has warned that it will allow in only the internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot south of the island and deny entry to the breakaway Turkish Cypriots if there is no peace deal by then.
Such a prospect could derail the EU hopes of Turkey, which occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.
If a partitioned island joins the pan-European bloc, Turkey, which maintains some 30,000 troops in the north of the island, risks becoming an occupier of EU territory. -AFP