Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay has said “the Greek Cypriot leadership is not our interlocutor” in response to the Greek Cypriot community leader Nicos Anastasiades’ proposal to set up a technical committee on Maraş.
Özersay said that the Greek Cypriot leadership, which is asking for the establishment of a joint committee on Maraş, did not even respond to the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal on establishing a joint committee on natural gas, which the Turkish Cypriot community has rights over.
“Instead, they pointed to the comprehensive settlement“, Özersay noted.
He said “Maraş is not a part of comprehensive settlement talks nor is it part of confidence-building measure process.”
“If the negotiations process had been underway, Maraş could have been taken up by the two sides as part of the talks. On the other hand, Maraş had been taken up as a confidence building measure in the past many times but failed to reach an agreement”, Özersay added.
He also underlined there is no need to repeat failed negotiation processes and added “because such approaches can only aid the continuation of the status quo.”
“The inventory study on one of the primary symbols of the status quo, will take a snap shot of the situation in the fenced-off city, which then the Turkish Cypriot side will use as its basis for the next steps. It is for this reason the Greek Cypriot side is not our interlocutor but the former residents of Maraş are no doubt one of the stakeholders and they will not be excluded from the process”, Özersay stressed.
He added the TRNC government will take steps by taking international law and the expectations and the rights of the former residents of Maraş and the Evkaf Administration into consideration.
“However we are conducting a scientific survey before doing so,” Özersay pointed out.
He also noted it will be wrong to reduce the Maraş issue to who owned which immovable property, when.
“Looking at the steps to be taken on Maraş as property ownership would mean missing out on the bigger picture. The issue is beyond property or proprietorship”, Özersay added.