Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who was in Strasbourg for a series of contacts came together with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Füle.

Speaking to Cyprus Turkish News Agency (TAK), Foreign Minister Nami stated that within the framework of his contacts in Strasbourg, he also met with Chairman of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Hannes Swoboda, Co-Chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Sir Graham Watson, Vice-Chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Sarah Ludford, German European People’s Party (EPP) Group Member and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Elmar Brok as well as the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament Miguel Angel Martinez, Alejo Vidal-Quadras and Laszlo Surjan.

Pointing out that during his contacts in Strasbourg, he observed that the interest of the European officials in the Cyprus issue has increased; Foreign Minister Nami said he conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side’s request for equal treatment to both peoples in Cyprus. Nami underlined that this request was responded positively by the EU.

Nami noted that during his contacts, he also put forward the Turkish Cypriot side’s view towards the resumption of the negotiations under the UN Secretary General’s good offices mission.

Explaining that the issue of the Turkish Cypriots’ representation in the European Parliament was also taken up, Nami said they reminded the promise given to the Turkish Cypriot side to the effect that this would be taken up by the EP Presidency before the end of this year. He added that the EU was continuing its studies on the issue.

Nami stated that the problems with regard to the Green Line and Financial Aid regulations and ways to eliminate them were also discussed during the meetings. Foreign Minister Nami added that he came together with vice-chairmen of  political groups, heads of national delegations and coordinators of foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament.

Foreign Minister Nami returned to the TRNC, last night (24 October).

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who went to Strasbourg for a series of contacts met with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle yesterday (23 October) and exchanged views with regard to the Cyprus problem.

Within the framework of his program in Strasbourg, Foreign Minister Nami and his accompanying delegation also came together with the Members of European Parliament (MEPs), Deputy Chairmen and Chairman of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Hannes Swoboda besides other officials. Nami stated that the EU officials he met were very much willing for an early and just settlement in Cyprus.

Speaking to Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs, Özdil Nami pointed out that during his meeting with Füle they mainly focused on the Cyprus problem and discussed all its aspects. Nami added that they also exchanged views on making the Green Line and Financial Aid regulations more efficient by eliminating the existing problems.

Explaining that additionally, they discussed the ways of accelerating studies regarding the harmonization of the TRNC laws with those of the EU, Foreign Minister Nami said, the EU acquis communitaire would be implemented in North Cyprus following a possible solution, thus discussing the issue was very fruitful.

“They cannot understand why the negotiations could not be launched because of a disagreement on the joint statement text”, said Nami stressing that Füle supported the Turkish Cypriot side’s point of view to the effect that the negotiations should start as soon as possible and the Turkish Cypriot’s priorities should also be included in the text.

Referring to the  European Parliament elections in May 2014, Nami said the common idea of the EU was the start and finalization of the negotiations as early as possible, before this date, as they could be negatively affected from this situation.

Noting that during the meeting, Stefan Füle drew attention to the importance of time and acting quickly in the negotiations, Nami said: “There is an increasing interest for a solution in the EU compared to the past. The European officials have all expressed the belief that the existing window of opportunity should not be missed”.

Explaining that the issue of Maras (Varosha) was not discussed in detail during the meeting with Füle, Nami said the Turkish Cypriot side and the EU Commission have maintained their existing positions on the issue. Nami also underlined that a development with regard to the Direct Trade Regulation was not expected in the near future.

Making a reference to the Greek Cypriot side’s demand for an enhanced role of the EU in the negotiations, Nami said he conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side’s position on the issue to Füle. “Mr. Füle is also in favor of the continuation of the EU’s existing position. He said, if the two sides achieve progress in the negotiations and agree to invite the EU, then the EU is ready to make a wider contribution to the negotiations”, Nami added.

Stating that he conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side’s plan aimed at reaching a settlement in March 2014 and the expectation of support from the Greek Cypriot side on the issue to the MEPs, Nami noted:

“We said that if we act within the framework of the existing convergences, we can reach a conclusion. The first goal is reaching an agreement on the joint statement text that will pave the way for the leaders’ meeting.  Apart from these, we also conveyed the issue of the invitation of two Turkish Cypriot MPs to the European Parliament under the observer status. Accordingly, we  reminded the President of the EP Martin Shultz’s promise to take up this issue at the EP Presidency until the end of this year and  reiterated our request in this respect”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami will meet with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle in Strasbourg, tomorrow (23 October 2013). During his stay in Strasbourg, Foreign Minister Nami will bring issues such as the isolation imposed upon the Turkish Cypriot people and the improvement of the Green Line Regulation and Financial Aid Regulation forward.

 

Speaking during a program on Genç TV, Foreign Minister Nami stated that in his meeting with Füle, he would convey his views on the amendment of the context of the Green Line Regulation and extending the term of the Financial Aid Regulation as well as making it more efficient.

 

“We are demanding the improvement of both regulations which are currently in operation”, Nami said. In response to a question whether the EU would actively take part in the negotiation process, Nami said: “Turkish Cypriot side’s point of view on this issue is clear. The EU is already a party to the Cyprus issue and if it sits at the negotiation table, it is obvious whom it will support”.

Reminding Füle’s previous statements to the effect that the EU’s more active participation to the negotiation process could be possible if both sides demanded, Foreign Minister Nami underlined that the Turkish Cypriot side would not accept an enhanced role of the EU.

 

Evaluating the two side’s positions with regard to the joint text, Nami said there wasn’t any crisis on the content of the text, in fact the two sides were very close at the moment. Nami added that however, the Greek Cypriot side’s insistence on including its priorities into the text was making things more difficult.

 

Nami noted that although the Turkish Cypriot side did not intend to speak on this issue for a long time, they felt obliged to issue a statement following the statements of the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis.

 

If we say that this issue could end in the forthcoming months, it means we believe in this and work for it”, said Nami , stressing that demonstrating the Turkish Cypriot side’s will towards a solution was also important. Nami also said: “If this problem cannot be solved once again despite the Turkish Cypriot side’s will, then we should not be punished. Therefore, the international community should take more concrete steps in order to prevent its repetition.

 

“If the process fails again, we should explain that this is not because of the Turkish Cypriot side, so that we can have an opportunity for our demands and steps in the forthcoming period afterwards”.

 

Pointing out that he drew parallelism between the issue of natural gas and the EU perspective, Foreign Minister Nami said: “If everyone had done their part early enough, then we wouldn’t have experienced these problems today” and made a referrence to the Copenhagen process where the opportunity for making the Greek Cypriot side’s EU membership a condition for a solution had been missed. Nami added that if the international community declares that the natural gas revenues can be used only after a solution, then it would have an important contribution for a solution, otherwise Greek Cypriot side would be unwilling towards a solution.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami made evaluations to BRT Channel, with regard to the “Joint Statement Text” being prepared within the context of the full-fledged negotiations expected to resume soon. Foreign Minister Nami explained that the joint statement text proposed by the United Nations was accepted by the Turkish Cypriot side but  it was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side.

Nami pointed out that however, the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot delegations were still continuing their studies on the text with the UN officials in order to realize the Leaders’ meeting declared to take place on the 4th of November.

Foreign Minister Nami stated that the problem regarding the joint statement text was the Greek Cypriot side’s insistence to include the issue of Single Citizenship-Single Sovereignty, which was agreed in principle by the two leaders in 2008.

“Greek Cypriot side, while demanding to include the issue of Single Citizenship-Single Sovereignty, which is its priority in the joint statement text, wants to negotiate our priorities like Internal Citizenship and Residual Powers. This attitude cannot be accepted”, Nami added.

Referring to Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis’ intention to convey to the EU Ambassadors his thesis on the active participation of the EU in the Cyprus problem, Foreign Minister Nami said: “They always do this, but the EU emphasizes at every platform that it will give only a technical support to the negotiations. It does not want to fully involve in the Cyprus issue. Moreover, the EU already has a representative, who actively works and gives technical support to the leaders in the buffer zone”.

Stressing that a comprehensive settlement to be reached would be in any case in line with the EU norms, Nami reminded that there exists an EU topic in the negotiations and agreement was reached on this topic.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami replied the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades, who said “this problem will be solved by Christmas”.

Speaking to Havadis newspaper during an interview, which was published yesterday (20.10.2013), Özdil Nami reminded 1 July 2008 agreement to the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades, who attached  the establishment of a settlement in Christmas to “the single sovereignty and single citizenship”. Nami said “by focusing on the remaining issues, we hope that a rapid process could be concluded with success”.

Noting that it was vital for the leaders  to start the comprehensive settlement negotiations immediately, Nami added “the structure of the comprehensive settlement is obvious.  At this phase, it is impossible to establish a federal structure against all the works put forth until today. Moreover, the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council are very clear”.

Pointing out that the Cyprus problem did not have any aspect, which was not discussed, Foreign Minister Nami said the main problem was about preparing the peoples for a solution, besides its content. Referring to the Greek Cypriot approach of bringing some of their sensitive issues into the forefront, Nami said some political parties, basing their policies on these issues were playing a key role and there were difficulties to overcome them.

Explaining that people had different expectations from Anastasiadis as a leader who said “yes” to the Annan plan, Nami said: “These expectations have not been realized yet. We hope that in the coming period, they find a way to overcome these problems originating from their internal politics. They have recently brought forward the issue of Maraş (Varosha) in order to overcome this. However, it is out of question for the Turkish Cypriot side to make concessions on the territory for Anastasiadis to solve the internal problems”.

Evaluating the Turkey 2013 Progress Report and Enlargement Strategy Document prepared by the EU Commission and published on the 16th October, TR Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also touched upon the Cyprus issue on 19th October 2013.

It was expressed in the statement that as in previous years the Cyprus issue and within this context, the dispute which occurred due to the unilateral Greek Cypriot initiatives concerning hydrocarbon resources in Eastern Mediterranean were also mentioned in the Report with a one-sided perspective. The following evaluation was made about Cyprus in the statement:

“The constructive steps and initiatives of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey, as the guarantor state, taken so far towards a permanent settlement of the Cyprus issue based on the political equality of the two co-owner peoples and bi-zonality in the island are well known by the international community, especially by the UN. We maintain our consistent and result-oriented approach on this issue. In this period during which negotiations on the Cyprus Issue under the auspices of the UN are foreseen to start soon, we expect the EU to adopt an attitude to steer the Greek Cypriot Administration towards a comprehensive settlement seriously.”

Speaking at a television program related to the issue, TR Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pointed out that in the published EU progress report there were biased and extremely unilateral judgments related to the Cyprus issue and recorded that even if  there were unilateral expressions related to some internal developments in Turkey, the report was positive in terms of speeding up the process.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami who was in Ankara for a series of official contacts came together with Diplomatic Correspondents Association (DMD) yesterday (10 October 2013).

Stating that an important window of opportunity was opened with regard to the Cyprus issue, Nami said:

“Recently, first months of 2014 have started to be mentioned for the submission of a new comprehensive settlement plan to referenda. Turkish Cypriot side has been doing its utmost for the realizing this. We have a strong will towards a solution and Turkey gives a strong support for reaching a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus. We hope that the Greek Cypriot side will also show the necessary courage and we will put an end to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible.”

Evaluating the agreement of Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministers on the mutual visits of the representatives of the two sides to Turkey and Greece, Foreign Minister Nami said: “This will be for the first time. Although the date of the meeting is not certain yet, we expect this to happen before the end of this month. Studies are being carried out in this respect. These visits will be simultaneous and at equal level. I believe that they are very important symbolically.”

In response to a question asked whether the negotiations to resume in November would achieve sufficient progress until March 2014, which is the date envisaged for referenda, Foreign Minister Nami said: “Negotiations will not start from the scratch. There isn’t any aspect of the Cyprus issue which has not been discussed, while important convergences have been reached in the negotiations until today. We believe that the period until January 2014 is reasonable for the preparation of a new comprehensive settlement plan since these convergences will be maintained in  reaching a conclusion.”

Pointing out that although putting a time frame was not a precondition for the Turkish Cypriot side, it was an important goal, Nami said: “Negotiations will start and we do not have any precondition for this. We desire the negotiations to be resumed at leaders’ level from where they were left and to focus on the remaining divergences”. Stressing that the UN had run out of patience discussing the same issues, Nami said: “The negotiations will be resumed from where they were left and the side which drags its feet will pay for it”.

Explaining that during the period between 2008-2010, important convergences were achieved on the issues of governance and power sharing, EU and the economy, Foreign Minister Nami said the property issue, as one of the remaining issues, was not as difficult as before. Noting that on the issue of territory, criteria were determined mutually and the map to be emerged was not expected to be much more different than the one in the Annan plan, Nami said: “We have conveyed to the Greek Cypriot side that on the issue of territory we will not be as concessive as we were during the period of the Annan plan. 10 years have passed since then and except Maraş (Varosha,)additional investments have been made in the regions to be subjected to territorial adjustment. Life goes on. For this reason, it is more difficult to make the same concession today. However, the territorial adjustments will be more or less the same with the map of the Annan plan. These are not issues to be discussed for months. The most complicated issue amongst the remaining divergences is property”.

Nami added that Cyprus problem could be solved with  hard work, there was a necessary basis, but the only thing missing was the political courage.

Referring to the time-table he envisaged for the negotiations, Foreign Minister said until the end of the year, they could focus on the remaining divergences and at the end of the year they could prepare a new comprehensive settlement plan. He added that the plan could be explained to peoples until March 2014 and simultaneous referenda on both sides could be held in the same month. Nami added that however, the Greek Cypriot side has not yet responded positively.

Upon being asked whether a new step is being expected from the Turkish side during TR Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s TRNC visit which is being planned,   Nami stressed that all the steps about Cyprus were based on the principle of reciprocity. Nami said: “If his Greek counterpart crosses to the North, Davutoglu may go to the South or they may come together at the buffer zone. Why not? ”

Adding that a time has not been set yet for Davutoglu’s TRNC visit, Nami stated that Davutoglu would like to give messages to the world during his visit and reminded that the 4th November was uttered for the negotiations between the two sides. Nami continued as: “A visit is being considered as a support for the process before this”.

Upon being asked whether the Greek Church took a positive step for the process, Nami replied as: “We do not expect anything from the church. You are aware of their past approaches and these are not possible to change in the following months. We do not have any mission to put the church into the right path”.

Answering the question related to the UK’s possible positive contributions to the process, Nami recorded that contributions of the UK might have a positive effect, the whole world had an increasing interest in the Cyprus issue and this was welcomed with content. Stating also that if positive developments were not realized in the following a few months, the world’s interest would decrease, Nami said that in such a case TRNC would ask termination of the current injustice through her representative offices and with the support of Turkey.

Nami said: “Our agenda right now is to put forward all kinds of efforts with a good intention and to spend all these efforts. At this point, either there will be a federal solution or the world will make a new decision regarding these age long negotiations.

Upon being asked about the closed Varosha (Maraş), Nami expressed that the UN Security Council had a decision regarding Varosha and the TRNC had no intention like opening Varosha.

When he was asked about his evaluation regarding the European Union’s taking a role in the negotiation process, Nami said: “The negotiations are continuing within the framework of the UN Secretary General’s mission of good intention. The sides at the negotiation table are certain. The Turkish side does not allow the EU to sit at the table as a side”.

Evaluating also the possible contribution of a solution in the island to the Greek Cypriot side who has economical problems, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that a solution would bring great economic advantages to both sides, the Greek Cypriot side experienced revenue loss as their merchant navy was not able to use the Turkish ports and highlighted that transfer of natural gas with the lowest risk and the highest profit to Europe was possible via Turkey.

Touching upon the approaching elections and the target of March 2014, Nami pointed out the difficulty of making political decisions during the election periods and said that the territory issue was a delicate subject, but this challenge should be taken up in order to promote peace.

Repeating that it is difficult for politicians to take such steps during the election atmosphere, Nami continued as: “At present there is a narrow window of opportunity in front of us. We have to put forward a formula of consensus before the election time”.

Expressing that the new peace plan could be named as ‘The plan of Cypriots’, Nami   said: “The new comprehensive solution plan which will come out, is being constituted by the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. This will be a Cyprus solution plan. In this respect, neither the Turkish Cypriots nor the Greek Cypriots can put the responsibility on somebody’s shoulders. If it is positive it will be our success, if not it will be our failure”.

Being asked whether any change have been experienced in the Greek Cypriot public opinion with regard to solution oriented approaches, Nami stated that the Greek Cypriot side intended to use the EU membership as a bargaining chip against Turkey, but this could not be realized. Nami used the expression as: “The biggest change regarding the Greek Cypriot people is that; they acknowledged that they cannot use the EU membership against us, they missed the opportunity.”

TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami who is continuing official contacts in Ankara informed the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, TGNA on the latest phase reached at the Cyprus problem, expectations and attitude of the Turkish side.

Nami said that they were targeting to have a new plan for a comprehensive solution in Cyprus by the beginning of next year and to reach a positive conclusion after a referendum.

Moreover, Nami said that they had a fruitful meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday morning.

Mentioning that the Cyprus issue has currently reached an important stage, Nami recorded that the international community also started to talk about final efforts towards a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue.

Nami also thanked motherland Turkey for her support to the TRNC. The meeting was held closed to the press.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who is currently in Ankara, met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday (9 October 2013). Davutoğlu and Nami held a joint press conference after the meeting.

Foreign Minister Nami stated that they exchanged views on the point reached regarding the Cyprus issue and the path to be followed hereafter. “Turkish Cypriot people have been living with the Cyprus problem for 50 years. They are isolated from the world and subjected to a very unjust status. It’s time to put an end to this issue”, said Foreign Minister Nami.

Pointing out that besides Turkey’s big support to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot people should also integrate with the world, Nami said: “We have set a goal and that is March 2014. We desire to hold a referendum for a comprehensive settlement on the island and definitely to realize a comprehensive solution”.

Stressing that there were important convergences reached in the negotiations until today and that these could not be disregarded, Nami said:

“Both sides should agree on a new comprehensive settlement plan until the end of this year, by adding the new convergences to the existing ones in the negotiations. As a next step, they should explain this plan to their people within couple of months and hold separate simultaneous referenda. This problem should not exceed 50 years. Otherwise, the international community should find a different answer to the question of what should be done in Cyprus”.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that the time of the meeting with his counterpart Özdil Nami in Ankara coincided with the time of the meeting of both sides’ representatives in Cyprus. Noting that the Cyprus negotiations have reached a very critical point, Davutoğlu said election of the new Greek Cypriot leader in South Cyprus raised hopes towards a solution, however because of the economic crises and other developments in the Greek Cypriot administration, negotiations could not be resumed yet.

Reminding that they conveyed to the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor Alexander Downer during his latest visit to Ankara that it was time to carry out serious negotiations which would have a certain framework and time-limit, Davutoğlu said they also stated that the delay in the negotiations not only created unnecessary tensions in the island but also in the Eastern Mediterranean. Davutoğlu added that they also reiterated their will towards accelerating the process.

Referring to the recent meeting with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos within the framework of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, where they agreed on mutual visits of the representatives of both sides in Cyprus to Ankara and Athens, Davutoğlu said: “Perhaps, for the first time in 50-60 years long crises period, the visit of a Turkish Cypriot representative to Athens and of a Greek Cypriot representative to Ankara would eliminate an important psychological barrier.

“In the forthcoming days, probably on the 4th of November, the leaders would come together. Our initiatives in this respect will continue”, said Davutoğlu, adding that October would be the preparation month. Pointing out that there could be a need for having another meeting in the coming days, depending on the outcome of the yesterday’s meeting of the two sides’ representatives, Davutoğlu said he was planning to pay a visit to the TRNC. “We are at a critical threshold. If a strong will is displayed, then there can be a suitable atmosphere for negotiations and peace which has been desired for a long time in Cyprus”, Davutoğlu added.

Underlining that Turkey and the TRNC have put forward their determination towards the resumption of the negotiations as early as possible and reaching a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, however the Greek Cypriot side did not display the same stance, Davutoğlu said: “We believe that a new window of opportunity has emerged. We will do our utmost, by meeting with all the related parties”.

Noting that during the meeting with his counterpart Nami they also discussed the issue of the recognition of the TRNC by the world, Davutoğlu said: “The TRNC believes that while carrying out negotiations on one hand, it also has the right to explain its just cause to the world and establish relations with everyone. We will continue to spend intensive efforts towards ending the unjust isolation and eliminating the outdated restrictions imposed upon the TRNC”.

In response to a question asked how the mutual visits of the two sides’ representatives would affect the process and whether a multi-lateral conference would be hold in later stages, Davutoğlu reiterated that the latest developments helped eliminating an important psychological barrier.

Reminding that as guarantor states Turkey and Greece have special status in the process, Davutoğlu said however, the mutual meetings held until today were either between the two sides in Cyprus or between Turkey and the TRNC as well as between Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration. He added that for the first time, Turkey would see the perspective of a Greek Cypriot representative and Greece would see the perspective of a TRNC representative.

Expressing the belief that this would be the beginning, Davutoğlu stressed that Turkish-Greek and Turkish Cypriot- Greek Cypriot peoples who had been living side by side for ages could only give the best decision together.

For his part, Foreign Minister Nami also stated that Greek Cypriots had wrong impressions about Turkey and the meeting that would be held with their collocutors in Ankara would help them to get rid of those impressions and have a positive contribution to the process. Nami added that also the meeting of a TRNC representative with his collocutors in Athens would facilitate establishing direct relations with other countries.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who went to Ankara for a series of official contacts, came together with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay yesterday.

Turkish Deputy PM Beşir Atalay, stating that Turkey has always maintained its close solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots and would continue to do so, said that there is no need to worry about this issue.

Pointing out that they were at a period during which many issues regarding the TRNC were on the agenda, Atalay said that the universities has started 2013-2014 educational year and added that within this context, the university sector in the TRNC will be contributed.

Referring to the recent meeting of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon during G-20 Summit, as well as the meeting of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu with Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos in New York, Atalay said: “We hope that the negotiation process will efficiently lead to a fair settlement.”

For his part, Foreign Minister Özdil Nami, said that the meeting was very fruitful, and added that they were jointly engaging in efforts in order to bring the TRNC to a stronger position.

Reminding that a new government has been formed in the TRNC, Nami continued: “The governments in the TRNC can change but Turkey’s support extended to the TRNC never changes. We know this well. We will continue to work in close cooperation in order to bring the TRNC to a better position.”