Within the framework of his contacts in Washington, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay made a presentation at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) which is one of the most prestigious think tank organizations guiding the US foreign policy.

In his speech at the Centre for International and Strategic Research, Özersay gave information and replied to the questions of the participants who were experts, including representatives of the companies licensed by the Greek Cypriot side, concerning the position of the Turkish Cypriot side on the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side.

Özersay answered the questions of the BRT correspondent following the presentation and said:  “We put forward a constructive and creative attitude, but no one expects us to sit and wait for us to follow the Greek Cypriot side”

Özersay also spoke to Reuters and Bloomberg the previous day in Washington and he will also meet with some press representatives today (14th January).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay said that the UN peacekeeping mission is no longer needed in Cyprus and that it should be turned into a civilian mission.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Kudret Ozersay, who held meetings with UN officials and diplomats in the U.S., said the military mission was no longer necessary, adding the “changing circumstances” required a revision of the current peacekeeping forces on the Eastern Mediterranean Island.

Ozersay travelled to New York on January 7 to express the TRNC’s views to the UN and members of the Security Council, where the issue is expected to be discussed by the end of January. Özersay said that the functions, powers and number of UN peacekeeping troops on the island need to be revised.

Underlining that the UN Peacekeeping Force has become the symbol of status quo in Cyprus, Özersay said that the presence of approximately 800 UN forces on the island was costly. Özersay continued: “We believe that there is no need for a military peacekeeping operation that costs nearly $22-23 million per year,” he said, adding that $54 million is expected to be spent for the UN presence on the island in 2019. However if it is turned into a civilian mission the cost will be half and the same duties which are observation and reporting will be fulfilled.

The Minister said that there is a general opinion in the UN that the functions, powers and number of UN peacekeeping troops on the island need to be revised, even if their mandate is extended in February.

Özersay stressed the importance of energy companies reminding the Greek Cypriot Administration that in order to pass to the further stage of drilling activities, the Turkish Cypriot side’s approval should be received. “At least, all these problems and risks can be removed if both sides start to cooperate on the issue of natural gas. A serious financial responsibility will appear in terms of the companies. If the companies continue their activities without receiving the approval of the Turkish Cypriot side, the issue of responsibility will be brought to the agenda. There are disputed zones in the region. Turkey has put forth its stance clearly that no drilling activity will be allowed.

If the issue is brought to the agenda, the companies can lose money, time and have financial problems. Even tension could arise in the region” Özersay added.

Noting that the companies can start a dialogue between the two sides, Özersay said that the two sides can discuss the energy issue. Mentioning the natural gas exploration activities of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation in the Mediterranean, Özersay said that the Greek Cypriot side is trying to create a wrong perception as if Turkey conducts natural gas exploration activities in Cyprus.

Underlining that Turkey has a legal right to do exploration activities on its continental shelf, Özersay said: “Turkish Petroleum Corporation exploration which will be made in the licensed area is not Turkey’s exploration activities. These activities are to be made by a company on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots. Just like Exxon, Total and ENI’s activities on behalf of the Greek Cypriots.”

Stating that the Greek Cypriot Administration uses TPC activities in order to accuse Turkey, Özersay said: “The Greek Cypriots are trying to draw a kind of victimisation picture by saying that Turkey is a big state here and, as small Southern Cyprus, Turkey suppresses them and usurps their rights.”

Reminding that the bi-communal, bi-zonal federation system has been put forward as a solution in Cyprus for half a century, he continued:

“We do not have a common vision. I don’t blame anyone but there is a reality that the Greek Cypriot side is not willing to share the administration and wealth with us. If you do not want to share governance and wealth you cannot make a federal partnership,” he said, adding that cooperation in energy, fighting terrorism, black money laundering and human trafficking could lead to interdependency between the two sides and ultimately lead to a comprehensive solution to the dispute.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay made a speech at the Atlantic Council, which is one of the leading institutions on security and natural richness, within the framework of his contacts in the US capital, Washington. Özersay evaluated the issues of the future of the Cyprus problem and natural gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Stating that it is not the right approach to link every problem to the deadlock which has been continuing for half a century and currently postponed, Özersay said “We should be able to start cooperating without waiting for a solution on the issues of natural gas, extradition of criminals, the fight against black money, terrorism and similar issues in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

Özersay indicated that to start cooperating without waiting for a solution would create an environment of confidence between the two sides in real terms.

Özersay also pointed out the importance of cooperation without waiting for a solution between the parties in Cyprus in terms of regional peace and stability. Stating that there are two important factors for cooperation between the parties, Özersay said: “The first one is that all parties need this cooperation. This is not available in all issues today. However, there are some issues where the need for cooperation cannot be denied. For example, the fight against terrorism or extradition of criminals.

Özersay identified the second important factor for cooperation as the two parties need to show flexibility and behave pragmatically. Özersay stated that the two parties cooperated previously in the electric issue in 2011. In his speech at the Atlantic Council, Özersay underlined that the aim of the Greek Cypriot side not to cooperate in the natural gas issue is because of the approach of the international community.

Today (10th January), Özersay will continue his contacts in Washington.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay said that they are opposed to the status quo, that is to say likewise continuation of the UN Peacekeepin Forces in Cyprus therefore they will continue their diplomatic initiatives in this direction with determination.

On the second day of his New York contacts, Özersay met with the Term President of the UN Security Council, Dominican Republic UN Ambassador Jose Singer. In his statement through his social media account, Özersay expressed “We had a very fruitful meeting. We shared our views regarding the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus and the future of the Cyprus problem. We will continue our contacts with the representatives of the Security Council Member States.”

Minister Özersay also evaluated his New York contacts on BRT prime news. Özersay said “The Greek Cypriot side considers the change of mandate of the UN Peace Forces in Cyprus as a breakdown of the status quo therefore they are against it. Our struggle is in this way”.

Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side tries to relate the mandate and the reason for the presence of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force and the Turkish troops in Cyprus, Özersay stressed that the UN was sent to Cyprus in 1964 for another purpose, however the conditions have now changed.

Özersay said: “It is clear that there was not a negotiation process in Cyprus after 2017. The Greek Cypriot side is trying to prevent a change in the UN peacekeeping force by implying that there is a negotiation process. This is an inconsistent approach. We are against the understanding of likewise continuation of the UNFICYP, namely the continuation of the status quo, and we are conducting diplomatic initiatives in this direction.”

Within the framework of his contacts in New York yesterday (8th January), Özersay held bilateral meetings with the Security Council Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, the temporary member of the Council Germany Permanent Representative to the UN; the term President of the Council the Dominican Republic Ambassador to the United Nations, the temporary member of the Council Peru UN Ambassador and representatives of other member countries of the Council.

Özersay and his delegation travelled to Washington this morning (9th January).

 

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay is holding contacts at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Within the framework of his New York contacts, Özersay met with Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Jean Pierre Lacroix.

Undersecretary of the Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Güneş Onar, TRNC Representative to New York İsmet Korukoğlu, 2nd Secretary Sertaç Güven, 3rd Secretary Seval Gökeri and UN diplomats also attended the meeting.

Özersay said that they try to represent the TRNC at all international platforms, as the Turkish Cypriots deserve, with an understanding of active diplomacy. “We will try to affect the decisions of the third sides in the direction of our views at the meetings with the UN and the member state representatives of the Security Council. Diplomacy is a process. It is possible to reach a result with new and creative views put forth at different meetings, not only at one meeting. With this opinion, we will represent the Turkish Cypriots as they deserve at all possible international platforms and try to affect the decisions”  Özersay added.

Expressing that they brought up the subject of moving the UN military camp in Gazimağusa to the agenda at the meeting, Özersay said that they will receive an official reply from the UN on the issue and they will determine their attitude according to the reply.

Minister Özersay also met with the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador J. Allen.

 

 

For some time now, the Greek Cypriot administration has been interrogating, turning away and deporting foreign nationals back to their country who arrive at Larnaca airport with the intention to enter the TRNC by crossing the border checkpoints.

Most recently, we have been informed that more than thirty Israeli tourists who have arrived at Larnaca airport with the intention to cross to the TRNC to spend their New Year holiday have again been denied entry by the Greek Cypriot authorities and subsequently sent back to their country. We observe with deep regret this arbitrary practice of Greek Cypriot side which totally disregards the financial damages and distress that will be suffered by the travellers who wish to spend their holiday in our country.

This inappropriate and hostile practice, which has no legal ground and is totally arbitrary, is inconsistent with both international law, as well as the European values and principles which the Greek Cypriot side seemingly advocate at every opportunity. Despite our multiple calls to end this practice, which is yet another method employed by the Greek Cypriot side to impose the economic, cultural and sportive isolation on our country, the Greek Cypriot leadership insists on employing this practice which is further exacerbating the lack of trust between the two sides.

This practice which has been employed frequently by the Greek Cypriot side has demonstrated, once again, that their existing vision and mentality remain unchanged and that its intolerant and restrictive behaviour towards the Turkish Cypriot persists. This approach is the product of a mentality which intends to curtail at every opportunity our interaction with the world and our ability to take a breath of fresh air in this regard.

As it will be recalled, in 2018 a Russian tourist who wished to visit our country for holiday purposes was arrested, detained and deported by the Greek Cypriot authorities without any justification upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport. Again in 2018, a professor from Cairo University, who was meant to give a lecture at a university in our county was prevented from crossing to North Cyprus, again without any justification, upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport. Moreover, in 2017, children’s performance groups from various countries including Serbia, who were to visit our country in order to attend the 19th celebratory events within the framework of 23 April National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, were prevented from crossing to North Cyprus, after being detained for several hours by the Greek Cypriot police at Larnaca Airport.

It is now understood that this unfortunate incident experienced by Israeli tourists on New Year’s Eve is not an isolated incident, but rather constitutes the persistent perpetuation of a specific Greek Cypriot policy. We would like to emphasize, once again, that if the Greek Cypriot side does not put an end to these practices, we will not stand idly by and will take the necessary steps in this regard. While talking about the need to establish trust between the two sides on the one hand, trying to prevent the contact of the Turkish Cypriot people with the rest of the world on the other hand is compatible neither with good faith nor fairness.

Evaluating the UN Secretary General’s Temporary Consultant on Cyprus Jane Holl Lute’s recent contacts in Cyprus, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay said: “it is not a proper approach for the Temporary UN Envoy to start preparing a document called reference paper when there is no common vision between the sides and no consensus on what the sides will negotiate. Therefore, it is felt that the document which is said to be prepared up to the end of this year cannot in fact be prepared.”

Özersay continued: “The problem is while there is a difference in views regarding the essence of the issue, in other words, while the sides have different views on what should be negotiated, this is being ignored and at the end of the day, the focus is on issuing a document which everybody will interpret in their own way.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay evaluated the latest developments on the Cyprus issue as well as regional politics during a program he attended on BRT on 25 December 2018, entitled ‘Legal Opinion’.

In his response to a question, Özersay stated that today the institutionalization of state and international organizations has been declining and that the world is a much less predictable world than when compared to ten years ago and added that it also makes it very difficult to make a prediction on the Cyprus issue and foreign policy.

Stating that bilateral relations sometimes may lead to unpredictable results and that sometimes it is possible to pay a very heavy price due to these individual outflows, Özersay said: “For instance; when we look at the factors caused by trade war between the US and China, you can see the same situation, or is it a coincidence that the Kaşıkçı murder is placed at the centre of global politics?

Özersay continued: “When we look at Cyprus at such a period, in the last fifty years it looks like a Sisyphus effort to roll a huge stone up a hill only for it to roll back down again when it nears the top and this is repeated over and over again. There is an interesting situation where success and solution become an exception and failure has become an indication. If we’re going to do a realistic analysis, we have to see it even if we do not like it. Secondly, I see Brexit. In other words, I see one of the guarantor countries, the United Kingdom, in the heart of a debate that even she does not know where it is in order to exit the EU.  Can you imagine a period when the Cyprus problem has been solved and a new order has been created or a crucial stage has been reached in the negotiations, but the UK is not involved in it?  So I think of the role of the British in Zurich and London, or when we had the Birkenstock talks. I know their role in the Greentree talks. I cannot foresee the immediate role of the United Kingdom, which deals with a problem such as Brexit, in the Cyprus issue now. Within this context, I cannot say that there is an expectation that something will happen immediately.

When I look at the EU, I see that Greece or the other actors consider the European Parliament elections to be held next year to be important. France is dealing with a very serious economic and social crisis and I think that this situation will reflect on the EP elections not only in France but in Greece and Germany as well. We are passing through a period in which each government focuses on their internal problems. For example, it should be considered how much sensitivity France and Germany have for the developments experienced in Syria. Can these countries focus on the solution of the Cyprus problem or put forth real effort to move the process further in such an environment?

If we look at the situation from Turkey’s aspect, local elections will be held in Turkey next year. Although these elections are considered unimportant for some people, each election is still extremely important in Turkey due to the changed system which continues to be settled.

There is also the Syria crisis nearby to the island of Cyprus where a hot conflict is being experienced seriously from time to time. Rapid developments are being experienced there. We are passing through a period in which the US withdraws its military from Syria, considers Turkey as a very important and effective ally after a long time and Turkey defines herself a very important role in this region. In such an environment can we really say that we can solve the Cyprus problem at an international conference? I am not sure about it.

Özersay continued: “Jane Holl Lute was appointed as a temporary envoy. UN has a report and the UN Security Council has a decision in which a few steps were defined. Firstly, it should be tested if both sides have a vision towards the future of this island. If there is common vision, then the ‘Terms of Reference’ should be discussed. There is a determination that fully-fledged negotiations can only start at this third stage. I am not alone in thinking that there is no common vision between the two sides today.”

 I think that everyone who looks impartially sees that there is not a common vision between the two sides. Even when a federation is mentioned, we see that the sides think completely differently from each other.  If you listen to the views of the Greek Cypriot Leader regarding our sine qua non political equality and political participation, in relation to participation to the decisions and representation, we are all shocked including our President Mustafa Akıncı. We see that we have understood completely differently for fifty years. This means, there is a problem regarding the common vision.

We have entered into a process in which the communities discuss different issues within the context of vision. Today, AKEL withdrew from the negotiation process due to having a different vision from the Greek Cypriot leader. AKEL withdrew its negotiator from the negotiation team temporarily. Lute has arrived on the island in such an atmosphere but she said that she would prepare ‘Terms of Reference’ until the end of the year without mentioning a common vision. I think that there is not such a possibility until the end of this year. But, if next year, a different atmosphere occurs following ‘EP elections in March, Brexit and Turkey’s elections’, instead of preparing ‘Terms of Reference’ papers, firstly, we should talk about whether we have a common vision or not. If we do not reach an agreement from the beginning on how a partnership will be established, I think that the result is clear. The Turkish Cypriots will be disappointed. The Turkish Cypriot side should insist on resumption of the negotiations after making clear that there is a common vision. It should be clarified if we really want to establish a partnership. If we do not desire the same partnership, firstly, we should either accept or express this reality or we should take steps to harmonize this. This is the first issue which should be resolved.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay received a delegation of the Eastern Mediterranean University Board of Trustees under the Presidency of Boysan Boyra on 24 December 2018.

Özersay received up-to-date information about the academic, administrative and financial status of the University at the meeting which was held at the Ministry.

In his speech, Özersay said that the studies carried out by the EMU University concerning “Performance Evaluation” and “Staff Title” regulations will be discussed at the Council of Ministers Meeting.

‘Turkish Youth Association UK’ was established in October 2018 with the participation of young people who were born and are living in the UK and who are currently studying in the UK. At the reception where the President Nafiya Horozoğlu and three members were present, Minister Özersay was given information about the establishment, contacts and activities of the association.

Indicating that the association has taken an important step in respect of uniting the new generation Minister Özersay said: “This will be very beneficial in terms of understanding the agenda, priorities and problems faced by the young people in the UK”. Özersay also expressed that this factor will contribute to the ‘Project of Turkish Cypriots Living Abroad’ and very successful tasks can be achieved in cooperation. Özersay also said that those people who have not lost their identity can be the most effective lobby for the promotion of a country in terms of art, politics and sports. Özersay hoped that the association will be able to reach more people.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay met with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of Mission in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar.
The recent contacts of the UN Secretary-General’s temporary envoy Jane Holl Lute, exchanging views on the activities of the UNFICYP and in this context, the periodical report which will be presented to the UN Security Council in January 2019 regarding the mandate of the UNFICYP were discussed at the meeting held at the Deputy Prime Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition to these issues, the planned tension created by the Greek Cypriot Administration who provoked the Greek Cypriot farmers especially in the agricultural areas of Denya and Haspolat, the prevention of these events, and the way forward in cooperation, were also discussed at the meeting.
During the meeting, Özersay once again brought into the agenda the proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side regarding land mines and underlined that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to demine the whole island.
The meeting was conducted in a fruitful and positive atmosphere for almost 2 hours.