Özersay: “Status quo harms Turkish Cypriot side”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay said that the status quo continuing in Cyprus harms the Turkish Cypriot side.

In his statement to the Anadolu Agency, Özersay said that following the Cyprus Conference which failed in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in July 2017, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has taken a step that gives an opportunity to the sides to think again. Adding that the negotiations continuing for 50 years with failure should be questioned, Özersay said that Turkey and the TRNC made a sincere evaluation, and we, as the Turkish Cypriot side, do not want the status quo to continue.

Expressing that integration with the world is prevented due to the status quo, Özersay said that primarily, we prefer lifting of the status quo through a comprehensive solution, and if the Greek Cypriot side impose obstacles for a comprehensive solution, we want to prevent the continuation of the status quo in different ways. “As long as the status quo continues, it harms the Turkish Cypriot side” Özersay stressed.

Furthermore, Özersay said “the Greek Cypriot side’s call for the negotiation process to resume where it left off is actually a continuation of the status quo”.

Touching upon the report that is being prepared by the UN Secretary-General’s special temporary envoy Jane Holl Lute this month, Özersay said that it would be wrong to think that the report to be presented to the UN will evaluate the 50-year-old ethnic problem and come to a point where it will lead to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Emphasizing that the Turkish Cypriot side, with Turkey, had always put forward their good intentions in order to find a comprehensive solution so that they can be integrated into the world, Özersay said: “The Turkish Cypriot side does not want to enter into a new negotiation process that will not reach an outcome. It is time to stop and question what is going on.”

Indicating that there is a wind of cold war between 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, Özersay said that it is not realistic to start a new negotiation process in such circumstances.

Özersay also added that if the process which had been tried for 50 years did not work, they should sit and negotiate sincerely with all relevant parties and the Greek Cypriot side and discuss what else can be tried? “In the meantime, we should try to develop a concrete relationship and make an effort to create trust between the two sides on every issue, especially on the economic issue” said Özersay.

Touching upon the UN military camp that is located in the Gazimağusa area, Özersay said that as the area has developed, the camp has remained within the city where hundreds of people are now residing and that the location of the camp had become a problem.

Özersay pointed out that they had met with the UN officials and said:

“There are helicopters which land and take off at that camp and there is continuous movement of military trucks. The camp is currently in an urban area. This needs to change. We as the TRNC Foreign Ministry informed the UN about this and are waiting for a positive reply in view of the fact that the circumstances in the area have changed.

Özersay also pointed out that the site could be transformed into a green area or a city park and this is not an issue related to the mission of the UN Peace Forces and it is a general issue of the needs of the country and the people.

Pointing out that it is ‘unlawful’ to open tenders to foreign companies for natural gas exploration activities at the 7th parcel within the so called Exclusive Economic Zone by the Greek Cypriot side, Özersay said that this is an initiative to usurp the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.

 Özersay continued: “If other companies step into the 7th parcel we, as the TRNC and the Republic of Turkey, will not allow this to happen. We willalso conduct exploration activities in all areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights. The Turkish Cypriot side will also start to do its own exploration activities with Turkish Petroleum Corporation which is authorised for this.