The TRNC government agrees with the steps taken by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar has said.
“We are always on the same ship with Turkey. We support these moves,” Tatar said in an interview on Haber Türk news channel.
The Prime Minister who was in Istanbul for a series of contacts gave interviews to various media institutions.
Tatar touched on the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the agreements signed between Libya and Turkey, the Cyprus negotiations, the upcoming 2020 presidential elections in the TRNC and the government’s Maraş/Varosha initiative.
Prime Minister Tatar pointed out that Turkey was continuing exploration for hydrocarbons and drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean with determination.
He said that Turkey was an important actor in the region with its 1800km coastline.
“Our relations with Turkey have grown stronger as the waters have heated up,” said Tatar, adding that the two countries were acting together to protect their rights and interests.
Asked to comment on the agreements signed between Turkey and Libya, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar expressed his full confidence that the Turkish government and Turkish Armed Forces will do what is best for the Turkish nation.
Responding to a question as to whether there were plans to build a Turkish naval base in the TRNC, Tatar said that plans to construct such a base in İskele will be evaluated.
Regarding the stationing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at Geçitkale Airport, the premier said that this was a correct and necessary move.
Also commenting on the Cyprus negotiations process, Tatar said it was out of the question to accept any settlement which did not include the continuation of Turkey’s active and effective guarantees.
“Much effort has been exerted for a federal solution. Turkish Cypriots will be able to become part of international law and will be freed of embargoes as and when a settlement is reached. But a solution which envisages zero troops and zero guarantees would mean watering down the TRNC’s current structure. We do not support a settlement that envisages the withdrawal of Turkish troops,” he said.
Tatar also argued that it would not be possible to reach a solution in Cyprus by excluding Turkey from the picture.
“We could have a confederation. Under the current circumstances, the Turkish Cypriot people will not accept a settlement which envisages dissolving the TRNC. We would not embark on any adventure without Turkey,” he added.
Tatar also said that alternatives such as a two-state solution under the EU umbrella could be discussed but that the platform for doing this would be the negotiating table.
“Whether or not the world accepts it, there are currently two states in Cyprus,” he said.
Asked about the government’s Maraş initiative, Tatar pointed out that Maraş was originally Ottoman and Evkaf property but that it had been unlawfully handed over by the British during the island’s colonial rule.
He added it was out of the question to return properties to their former owners.
“Maraş is located within the TRNC’s borders. We are planning to allow former residents in line with human rights. We are planning to open Maraş piece by piece,” he added.
Asked whether he intends to run for president in the 2020 Presidential election, Tatar said that the party’s roots supported his nomination but that the ultimate decision would be made by the UBP’s authorised bodies.