Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu has stressed that as long as the Greek Cypriot side does not respect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, a solution is not possible in Cyprus.
Minister Ertuğruloğlu held a press conference at TRNC Doha Representative Office in Qatar within the framework of his visit to gulf countries.
Replying to the questions of journalists regarding the Cyprus problem, the negotiation process, the TRNC and his visit to Gulf countries, Ertuğruloğlu gave information about TRNC tourism, higher education and the other sectors, inviting members of the press to visit the TRNC.
Discussing the history of the Cyprus problem, Ertuğruoğlu stressed that as long as the Greek Cypriot side is considered to be a state and the Turkish Cypriot side as a community, it is not possible to reach a successful outcome to the negotiations which have been ongoing for 50 years under the auspices of the UN.
Expressing that as long as the Greek Cypriot side considers the Turkish Cypriot people to be a minority, does not respect their rights and accept them as equal partners, he believes that it is not possible to reach an agreement. He added that UN soldiers have been on the island since 1964, but that they could not prevent the conflicts in Cyprus. Ertuğruloğlu stressed that the only guarantee of peace and prosperity in Cyprus comes from the Turkish Armed Forces, and pointed out that since 1974, not one conflict has taken place thanks to their presence. Expressing that political and sovereign equality is a sine qua non for a solution to be reached in Cyprus, Minister Ertuğruloğlu stressed that Turkish Cypriot people are peaceful and that they have always been willing to find a solution in the island. However, the Greek Cypriot side, he said, wants to continue the current negotiation process as open ended, put obstacles in front of Turkish Cypriots efforts to globalize, and blame Turkey as an occupant.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side did not give permission to children who arrived in Cyprus via Larnaca airport for the 23rd April celebrations to pass to the TRNC Ertuğruloğlu said this was not acceptable.
The Minister stressed that as a result of the embargoes imposed on the TRNC, direct flights and trade to the country are not possible. He said, however, that thanks to the advantages accorded by Turkey, the TRNC has developed areas such as higher education and tourism, and pointed out that there is close cooperation between Turkey and Qatar.
Responding to a question on natural gas exploration in Cyprus, Ertuğruloğlu said that the Turkish Cypriot people have equal and legal rights on the natural gas explored in Cyprus, and this should not be forgotten. Ertuğruloğlu said that if this reality is not taken into consideration, the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey will not allow the Greek Cypriot side to take any further steps without considering the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
Minister Ertuğruloğlu further said that he held very positive meetings in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar within the framework of his visit.
Following the press conference, the TRNC Doha Representative hosted a reception for members of the press.