Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay has said that the round table discussion on Maraş/Varosha on Saturday 15 February will be just an exchange of views, a brainstorming session.
Ozersay, a candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections, said steps would be taken after the presidential elections to avoid pre-election campaigns, but that scientific studies of Maraş would continue.
The foreign minister said that before his election, President Akinci had said he would take steps regarding Maraş, but had not made any moves in five years. “If I am elected president, I will continue the vision I proposed five years ago”, he added, expressing the hope that Akinci would explain to the public in the coming days, the extent to which he had fulfilled his Maraş commitments. He said he would continue to work to open Maraş to its former residents under Turkish Cypriot administration.[However, 1977-1979 High Level Agreements and the four relevant UN Security Council decisions adopted from 1977 until 1992, provide that the lawful inhabitants must return and be re-settled in the fenced-off town under UN control. Ed]
Speaking on Diyalog TV, Ozersay also said that Saturday’s event in Maraş was scheduled long ago, but was extended and should not be linked to the presidential elections. He said that the round table discussion would present the data that emerged during the census study and be evaluated by Turkish and TRNC officials. He added that after the brainstorming session, the steps the government would take would be formulated. “It will be useful to include officials from Turkey in this process”, he said.
Ozersay said that the census of Maraş, commissioned by the Cabinet, had been completed at various points, but the study of the buildings and their condition has not yet been completed. He said that there was a new development in relation to buildings and that a protocol was signed with the Eastern Mediterranean University, which would provide the services of civil engineers and architects to quickly complete the necessary inventory of buildings in the fenced-off town.