Özersay: “Closing the border gates is arbitrary and damaging the relations”
Date Added: 04 March 2020, 12:10

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay stated that closing of the border gates by the Greek Cypriot leadership is an arbitrary, unilateral and damaging step that lacked seriousness. Özersay also pointed out that everyone in Turkish Cypriot politics are united that this step is wrong and that a general consensus was reached.

Özersay said, “Since there is a mistake, I think we should be able to say this audibly. Considering the question why the Greek Cypriot political leadership has taken this step, I think it should be particularly emphasised. It was probably taken as a step towards preventing economic welfare of the TRNC”

In his statement on this issue, Özersay stated that the Greek Cypriot political leadership has attempted to prevent the TRNC’s economic welfare by making some changes in the Green Line Regulation.

Noting that letters have been sent to the European Union officials and the United Nations, as Deputy Prime Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Özersay continued as follows:

“We have brought to the attention of the international public that the Greek Cypriot side is actually trying to change the regulation and they are trying to make the green line regulation more restrictive under the application code. As a result, the EU Commission originally gave a veto to the Greek Cypriot leadership and conveyed the message that this was not the right approach, and that there could be no de facto amendment of the regulation unless there was a change in the regulation. When a virus threat emerged recently in the world, this time the Greek Cypriot political leadership tried to make an application that would suppress us economically under the guise of a health issue. This is not a new intention. It is a precaution that has been revealed before, which has tried to be implemented within the framework of the green line regulation, but when it fails, it is tried to be implemented under the pretext of a virus issue.

At that time, they tried to hide behind another excuse. They said that they had to take measures, arguing that the transition of refugees to the South had increased rapidly. However, with two clear arguments in that period; we responded to the UN and EU officials by sending a letter. It was also revealed that our arguments were strong and right. We said that we are ready to cooperate in the refugee issue as we did in the other issues. Secondly, we stated that illegal crossing or refugee crossing is not happening through our border crossings. We have underlined that the difficulty in the green line regulation is due to an economic and political-economic preference.”

Emphasising that closing the border gates will seriously annoy the Greek Cypriots, Özersay continued:

“As the Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have taken some steps regarding the latest development. We did not only make a statement. Both Akyar and Beyarmudu border gates are under the control of the British base therefore we have contacted the UK authorities. We have also been in contact with the foreign mission chiefs in South Cyprus and with the Embassy to express the wrong attitude of the Greek Cypriot side for continuous development of economic relations between the two communities. We have also made contact with the UN authorities and started to send letters to the EU authorities. We have made all necessary initiatives as the Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs” Özersay stressed.

Özersay also pointed out that while the Greek Cypriot leadership tried to harm the Turkish Cypriots reputation by intimating that there is a Coronavirus risk in the TRNC, they were shamed with the presence of the Greek Cypriot community and the international community due to their attitude. Stressing that the Greek Cypriot side has to review their decision as soon as possible, Özersay said that the sides should discuss what can be done together, as the border gates were brought into force by the decision of both sides. “Establishing a dialogue regarding closure of the gates and setting a procedure is a must” Özersay stressed.