Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay held a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

In his speech at the press conference, Özersay said that they have had consultations regarding the future of the Cyprus Island and the hydrocarbon wealth in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Referring to the report by Guterres, Özersay underlined that the Secretary-General “had made realistic evaluations.” He also pointed to the necessity of maintaining dialogue. Both sides need to have common vision and aim for the future. We always stress this.

In his speech Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoğlu said that they evaluated the latest situation related to the negotiations after Crans-Montana and what they have to do about the exploration of natural gas reserves in the island and what can be done against unilateral steps being taken.

Pointing out that recently some countries have established triple and quadruple contacts with the Greek Cypriot side, Cavusoğlu said that they evaluated how they can protect the rights and interests of Turkey and the TRNC against these.

Stressing that it was important that the UN Secretary General did not insisted on any state or solution model in his report Cavusoğlu said that they will respond to the unilateral steps taken related to hydrocarbon issue in the Eastern Mediterranean and the timing of this was also discussed at the meeting.

Cavusoglu said: “Turkey has been repeatedly stressing that Turkish Cypriots have rights to the resources around the area and rejecting the Greek Cypriot Administration’s unilateral drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. We shall never regret to take steps in order to protect the rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side. We want a permanent solution and peace. Turkey has shown this to the whole world from the beginning not only with her statements but with her steps as well. We shall do whatever is necessary for the solution in the following process as well.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay attended a symposium entitled “Law and Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean” at Ankara University with his counterpart Çavuşoğlu within the framework of his working visit to Ankara.

In his speech at the symposium, expressing that the issue of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean has been referred to in the Cyprus report of Guterres, Özersay said that the following process will show the sincerity of the international community and whether they desire cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean or not.

Adding that they wish for the ending of refugee problems and humanitarian crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, Özersay stressed that natural wealth should be used in cooperation.

Furthermore, stressing that economic cooperation and mutual dependence can decrease the risk of conflict in the region, Özersay said “Definitely, there is need for dialogue and vision. I believe that, in the following period, we will succeed in this together and especially with the Republic of Turkey”.

The decision of the Greek Cypriot administration to open block 7 for license applications, within the so-called exclusive economic zone of the Greek Cypriot administration, to international companies that already have hydrocarbon exploration licences in other parcels, shows, by way of a new fait accompli, their insistence on the policy of usurping the legitimate and equal rights of the Turkish Cypriot side as co-owners of the natural resources around the island. This legally void approach of the Greek Cypriot side constitutes a step that will negatively impact regional stability.

The Greek Cypriot side’s mentality which disregards the equal rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people regarding the natural resources around the island is a reflection of the mentality which is unready to share power and prosperity – the very mentality which led to the collapse of the Cyprus Conference in 2017 and has prevented a settlement for 50 years. It is also this very mentality which exacerbates the status quo on the island, deemed as unacceptable by the international community. The biased and unjust approach of the international community which turns a blind eye to the unilateral and illegal activities of the Greek Cypriot side, prevents not only a settlement in Cyprus, but is also one of the most important factors hindering the creation of a peaceful atmosphere.

At a time when the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council have intensified their calls regarding Confidence Building Measures, the insistence of the Greek Cypriot side to, once again, take unilateral and illegal steps while turning a blind eye to the Turkish Cypriot side’s calls to act jointly regarding the natural resources around the island – which the whole world accepts as belonging to both communities –  will only serve to increase tensions in the region and cause the two sides to drift even further apart.

On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot side, through declaring licenses in the so-called block is not only disregarding the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, but also violating the rights of the Republic of Turkey deriving from international law over its continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, which it has repeatedly put on record within the international arena in the past.

As the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, we would like to share with the public that we will continue to take necessary precautions along with Republic of Turkey in order to protect our rights and interests over the island and to move forward with our activities, including drilling, regarding natural resources.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay said that the current stage of the relations of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the interest of the international community is not in the situation of moving the negotiation process to the top of the agenda and putting pressure on the Greek Cypriot side.

Speaking to the Voice of America in New York, Minister Özersay said that a questioning process needs to be started for the future of Cyprus and expressed his wish for New York meetings to provide this questioning.

Adding that it should be questioned where we made a mistake and why there has been a failed negotiation process for 50 years, and is it the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which we want to reach? Özersay stressed that we should try to find sincerely the answers to these questions.

Furthermore, stressing that there is not any procedure which has not been tried for solution of the Cyprus problem, Özersay said that all methods have been exhausted. Özersay also said that international actors should take steps towards motivating the Greek Cypriot side to cooperate with the Turkish Cypriot side and to find a solution but international actors do not fulfil their responsibilities.

Criticizing America for being close to the Greek Cypriots and supporting drilling works through one of their companies, Özersay said that this is also contrary to the responsibilities within the context of international relations.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay stated that he does not expect the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” with the report to be presented by his special temporary envoy Jane Holl Lute within a couple of weeks and he added that “it is clear what the hat has in it”

Özersay made a statement to the AA correspondent following the meeting held between President Mustafa Akıncı and Antonio Guterres in New York.

Stating that the UN Secretary-General did not intend to say after a period of 50 years that the negotiations will be continued from where they stopped, Özersay said that the right thing to do after half a century is this kind of questioning…. Özersay continued:

“We all say we support a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus but there are significant differences between what the Greek Cypriot leadership generally understands from such a federation and what the Turkish Cypriot leadership understands from the federation.

What we call the federation requires a shared partnership and this partnership requires the sharing of administration and wealth. My answer to the question of whether the Greek Cypriots are ready to share administration and wealth with us is NO.

 

Since the Greek Cypriot side became a member of the European Union without solving the problem, they are aware that they can actually be a member of the European Union, even if they do not share administration and natural wealth, and there is a perception that they do not need to solve the Cyprus problem. There is a burn-out syndrome. This brings a fatigue with it ”

Touching on the fact that failure of each negotiation process shakes the trust of both communities in their own political leaderships and negotiation processes and also in the UN and thus the credibility suffers from erosion, Özersay stated that resuming the negotiation process without making sure that it will succeed, will bring more division, ‘solutionlessness’ and frustration to Cyprus.

Upon a question regarding what kind of way is there to follow after the old negotiation process and whether there is a Plan B or not, Özersay said :

”The answer to the question of how to negotiate from now on is, two-fold. This distinction is also very important. The first is about the method, the date, the calendar, at what level, will it be an international conference with the participation of the guarantors from the beginning? The use of a conclusive method is mentioned. What happens if this is negotiated and fails, something can be added such as the obstacle on Turkish Cypriots, direct flight ban – will be removed? Etc. Another important point is whether there is a common vision. I do not believe that negotiations will begin without this point becoming clear. Whether the two sides really intend to negotiate a partnership of the same classification needs to be questioned with sincerity.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay gave an interview to Halkın Sesi correspondent in New York. Stating that there is an atmosphere of cold war at the UN Security Council, Özersay said that the Cyprus problem is not at the top of world agenda.

 

Adding that the aim of the Greek Cypriot side is not to conclude the Cyprus negotiations with success but to continue the Cyprus problem, Özersay said that it is time to question the real reasons of deadlock of the Cyprus negotiations.

 

Furthermore, Özersay said: “the Greek Cypriot side considers the continuation of the current status quo as a relaxed ground and does not see the advantages of a solution in Cyprus therefore I do not think that the Greek Cypriot side will take a sincere initiative to change the status quo”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay had a meeting with Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Rosemary Di Carlo within the framework of his New York contacts.

Özersay said that they had an opportunity to discuss the issues at the highest level and express their views to the United Nations regarding what should be done in the future.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay was received at the UN Head Office by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has been in New York to attend the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay is continuing his contacts in New York.

Özersay first met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the United Nations building yesterday.

Afterwards, he met with the Turkish National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and then completed his bilateral meetings with the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Mammadyarov.

Özersay, who also met with the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Jonathan Allen, also attended the meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization, in which the TRNC is an observer member under the name of the Turkish Cypriot State, where he gave a speech.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at a meeting between the delegations in New York last night (24th of September, 2018).

In his statement to Turkish News Agency, Özersay said that they discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus issue and exchanged views.

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