Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay has said that although the Greek Cypriot side claimed that it supported a comprehensive solution, in light of the steps that it has taken, it has shown that it is not sincere.
In an interview with Greek daily ‘Kathimerini’ he responded to a question regarding the issue of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). he stated that the drones had been deployed to areas in the Eastern Mediterranean where exploration and drilling activities were being carried out.
“24 hour tracking was problematic in the past due to the distance factor. Therefore, we gave authorisation for the use of the TRNC airport for the operation to be more effective”, Özersay said, adding that in this way, the situation was balanced in the region.
Reminding that military aircraft had landed at the Geçitkale Airport in the past, he said if required the TRNC with all its capacity, will cooperate with Turkey.
Stressing that Turkey was an ally and a strategic partner of the TRNC, Özersay cited the Greek Cypriot side’s cooperation with the US and France in the use of its ports.
Responding to another question regarding the Green Line Regulation, he reminded that there was a regulation which had been in practice since 2004 and had an EU framework.
“Today we see that the Greek Cypriot side is trying to change some articles regarding this practice. They haven’t started this process yet. However, if they do and try to prevent those who arrive on the island through Larnaca Airport passing through to the TRNC, in other words if they try to suffocate the Turkish Cypriots economically then this will have negative effects on relations between the two peoples. Should we consider retaliatory action?” Özersay said.
Noting that currently there were no negotiations process on the island, Özersay said it was not possible to reach anywhere without discussing the reasons why a comprehensive solution had not been reached in the past.
Expressing the belief that the problem was not about federation, he said this system which was in practice in different regions could have positive results for Cyprus. He noted, however, that conditions for a federation did not exist in Cyprus.
“Neither side trusts the other. One of the sides does not want to share the power and wealth. The federation culture does not exist. Since the necessary conditions for a federation do not exist, then during current conditions, let’s start with cooperation. Let’s build a partnership from bottom to top. For example, let’s cooperate on illegal migration, international terror”, Özersay said.
Stressing that he was mentioning a partnership based on cooperation, he said he was proposing a bottom to top, evolutionary approach.
“We can start with three issues and then this would become 13. We can build trust this way and this can gradually change to a partnership. Let’s not decide from today whether this partnership will evolve to a federation, confederation or a two state solution after 10 or 15 years”, Özersay said.
Reminding that the super powers were playing their games on the natural gas issue in the region, he said the step taken by the US on lifting the arms embargo on South Cyprus, was an indication that we were in the centre of a major conflict.
“If we do not want to become pawns then we should cooperate. Otherwise, we will end up as background characters”. Özersay warned.