Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay gave an interview to Greek Cypriot daily ‘Politis’ on Sunday.
Responding to a question whether the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to continue the negotiations within the Guterres framework and from where it left off in Crans-Montana, Özersay said:
“It is out of question for us to get involved in a process that turned into a vicious cycle. The point where the negotiations had stopped is at the point where the negotiations had collapsed. Therefore, it is meaningless to continue the same process from where we stopped. However there is a more important point. I think there is a serious problem not only in the process but in the fundamental, principle of the Cyprus issue. Unless we discuss this sincerely any new negotiations process will not go further than a vicious cycle. We do not want this.”
Stressing that instead of negotiations there was a need for a healthy dialogue to see whether there was a common vision and a common understanding, he said there was a basic disagreement in the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation principles adding that past negotiations have revealed this.
Asked what he thinks an alternative solution could be if we cannot reach a common understanding, Özersay said:
“Whatever the target and solution model are, at the end there was a need for a common will for any solution.
“If there is no common vision then there can’t be a partnership. The status quo does not bother the Greek Cypriot people in the current circumstances because they would consider the continuation of the so-called Cyprus Republic and the current situation. However, for Turkish Cypriot people, the status quo is untenable and we want it to change. Whatever name it will be given we want this to happen through a mutually acceptable agreement. However, this does not mean that we will accept anything they propose to us,” Özersay said.
Stressing that what they expected from the Greek Cypriot side was to show its readiness for sharing power and welfare with the Turkish Cypriots, he said, “recently Anastasiades expressed his disappointment over the current situation. I can say that I am also disappointed with the behaviour of the Greek Cypriot side. The signals we got from the Greek Cypriot side during the latest hydrocarbon discussion were, ‘yes, you are also a common owner of the natural wealth however we will not share these with you.’”
Responding to a question on what kind of a common decision making mechanism or a reconciliation process he expects on the natural gas issue, Özersay said, “we are not looking for a committee which will delude us on the natural gas issue. It is definite that a process should be started because whether we like it or not we are currently in a fight over the hydrocarbon issue. There is a need for mediation between the two sides especially on this issue as compared to other issues this conflict needs a more urgent solution.”
Providing details about the process, he reminded that they did not want the recognition of the TRNC because the two sides had negotiated for 50 years without recognising each other.
In response to another question regarding his latest speech at the parliament on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Özersay said, “while speaking at the parliament, I said to the public that we can start considering an agreement between the TRNC and Turkey for the assessment of the Cyprus EEZ. On the Greek Cypriot side, this was understood as I was talking about determining the Exclusive Economic Zone between the north and the south. However, this is not right. Currently, the only agreement between the TRNC and Turkey regarding the maritime zone is not related to the EEZ but the continental shelf. Besides this, there is another maritime agreement signed in the past which was also included in the appendix of the Annan Plan.”
Asked to comment on Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades’ statement that there was a need for preparation for returning the negotiating table, he said “I would be so happy if Anastasiades really has the same vision for the necessary preliminary preparation aimed at a discussion on the essence of the issue.
“However, you don’t need to negotiate in order to achieve this. You need a sincere conversation without having a need for a third person to take notes or scores in the room,” Özersay added.
In response to evaluations regarding the establishment of a fund for hydrocarbons, Foreign Minister Özersay said there is no difference between talking about a fund and saying that the Turkish Cypriot people would only benefit from this after a settlement adding that this would bring uncertainty for the future.
“Therefore, we think the Greek Cypriot side’s statement that a consensus had been reached on the natural gas to be within the province of the federal state is meaningless. This sentence is meaningless as long as we cannot find a solution. I can understand this if we were close to a solution or there would be a referendum within two months time” he said.
Özersay also responded to a question regarding how he sees the TRNC after ten years time; whether the TRNC will be a part of the EU through a federal state or will be a separate state competing with the so-called Cyprus Republic.
Stressing that the Turkish Cypriots’ demand for self-governance was not only related to the negotiations or a partnership with the Greek Cypriots, Özersay said, “our demand for self determination is valid for all sides. We do not have the intention to sacrifice the Turkish Cypriot identity.”
“I see that within 10 years time the TRNC will be a modern public authority representing the will of the Turkish Cypriot people. What we as politicians and other related sides should do is to make our institutions be a part of the international community and provide a better service and also to be in dialogue with the international community,” Özersay said and added that the Turkish Cypriot side is bored of waiting for what others will decide.
Özersay also expressed the need for being open for a peaceful solution on disputes in and around the island.