Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said that no step should be taken towards including the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades in the opening process of the fenced-off town of Varosha/Maraş during the informal leaders meeting to be held on 9 August.
In an interview with the TAK News Agency, Özersay said:
“The Greek Cypriot press reported that Anastasiades will bring the issue of closed city of Maraş to the agenda of the meeting and demand the establishment of a committee on this issue. This is not acceptable for us, the TRNC government. The two sides for many years and several times had discussed whether the issue of closed city of Maraş could be a confidence building measure however no conclusion could be reached due to the firm position of the Greek Cypriot side. Now, we cannot accept to go round in the same circles. It is out of question for us to accept anything that would disrupt the process and include the Greek Cypriot side to the Maraş process while we, as the government, have started to take a step on the issue of closed city of Maraş”.
Stating that the government not act in a way that harms property rights in Maraş, Özersay however pointed out that there was no need to hand over Maraş to the control of the UN in order to protect these rights. Stressing this point, he said they did not approve of the statements saying that we should act according to the UN resolutions on the Maraş issue after 45 years.
“In any case, it was not us but the Greek Cypriot side which has been producing policies by leaning back on the unfair decisions taken by the UN Security Council with political reasons. In other words, it is the Greek Cypriot side’s thesis to act according to the UN regulations on the issue of closed city of Maraş. I hope President Akıncı, during the meeting on the 9th of August, will not allow the Maraş issue to be taken up with an understanding that according to the UN resolutions, the closed city of Maraş should be given to the control of the UN. The Greek Cypriot side, as claimed by the Greek Cypriot press, should not be included in the process through a committee or other similar procedures. It’s been understood that the Greek Cypriot leader will attend the meeting with this understanding. We as the government do not approve this. This cannot be for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot people and we cannot accept such a thing”, Özersay said.
“The property rights of the previous owners are protected through several decisions, such as return, compensation or exchange, which are being taken by the Immovable Property Commission in the TRNC and recognised by the European Court of Human Rights”, Özersay said, adding that the same situation was valid for Maraş and that there was no need to give the UN the control of the town in order to protect the property rights of the people.
Explaining that the decisions taken by the UN Security Council were either binding or advisory, Özersay said:
“The decisions taken under the Chapter 7 of the UN Charter are binding and are about international peace and security. However, the decisions taken under Chapter 6 are about the solution of disagreements through peaceful methods and are not binding. Some UN Security Council regulations openly indicate under which UN chapter the decision was taken. However, if this is not written openly you can look at the matter and other articles of the decision and understand if the regulation is binding or not. The UN Security Council’s decisions on the closed city of Maraş were taken under the Chapter 6 and are not binding when the issue and its characteristics and the expressions used in the related decision are taken into consideration.
“Did the Greek Cypriot side accept and implement the decisions taken by the UN Security Council which approves the UN Secretary-General’s report who has been properly defying the political equality and bi-zonality at the negotiating table for many years? Did the Greek Cypriot side implement the bi-zonality which defines the need for both peoples to have the majority of population and property within their founding states?” Özersay asked and said no one should attempt to tie the Turkish Cypriot side’s hands on the Maraş issue while the Greek Cypriot side did not abide by the decisions taken by the UN Security Council for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots.