TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kudret Özersay met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara yesterday.
During a joint press conference following the meeting, Foreign Minister Özersay emphasized that a full agreement was reached with Turkey on the future of the Cyprus problem, maritime jurisdiction, and the hydrocarbon issue.
“Whether the two sides have a common vision on the Cyprus issue or not should be discussed sincerely in Cyprus, before we proceed with further negotiations” said Özersay, adding that the Turkish Cypriot side is determined to move forward with the process peacefully.
Regarding the hydrocarbon issue and question of maritime jurisdiction, Özersay said: “The Greek Cypriot side should show that they are ready to share this wealth with the Turkish Cypriots. We will not hesitate to protect our rights together with Turkey in the future. We will move forward with this determined stance. There is still an opportunity for a diplomatic solution. However, we are committed to protecting our rights in accordance with international law.”
“We have said that if the Greek Cypriots continue to insist on unilateral drilling activities then we will also authorize companies for drilling. We have reached this final stage. If the Greek Cypriot side continues to insist on unilateral hydrocarbon activities, then the Turkish Cypriot side will start its own drilling process, in cooperation with Turkey, through the Turkish Petroleum Corporation. This is not in the distant future.”
In response to a question about the opening of Derinya and Aplıç border crossings within the framework of confidence-building measures agreed in May 2015, Özersay said that despite a similar agreement which was made regarding the opening of the Yeşilırmak border crossing, the Greek Cypriots have not kept their promise. “The TRNC supports the opening of the Derinya and Aplıç border crossings,” Özersay said.