Anadolu Agency

 Ozdil Nami: ‘No matter what happened in the region, Turkish side did not give up on extended peace negotiations.’

 Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Foreign Minister said on Thursday that peace talks with the Greek Cypriot administration will resume in May.

In an interview with The Anadolu Agency, TRNC Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami said that in a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, he was told that the UN is now working for a final result for the “Cyprus issue.”

UN Envoy Espen Barth Eide recently said that he will be the last special advisor for Cyprus.  Nami said: “We hope so. We hope the peace talks which start after the presidential election in TRNC will be finalized in the year 2015.”

On the dispute with the Greek Cypriot administration over offshore exploration for oil and gas, Nami said that he does not expect it would affect peace negotiations, and that it was used as an excuse to hinder peace talks by the leaders at the time. “We went through the hydrocarbon issue with Greek leader Nikos Anastasiadis. Unfortunately Anastasiadis caused loss of time and unnecessary tension with his policies. Instead of thinking strategically and acting like a statesman who seeks solutions, Anastasiadis was occupied with tactical maneuvers.”

“No matter what happened in the region, the Turkish side did not give up on extended peace negotiations. What is happening now is a result of this,” he added.

Nami raised concerns about the negotiation process. “We wonder whether the process will continue at this pace. We are concerned about the Greek side’s tactical maneuvers against us, like Turkey’s ongoing EU accession bid, continuing embargos, and the natural gas issue.”

UN Envoy Espen Barth Eide recently said Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiadis was ready to go back to the negotiating table and said talks would resume within a few weeks.

In October 2014, Turkey and the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus strongly opposed any “unilateral” move by the Greek Cypriot administration to explore for hydrocarbon resources around the island, saying its natural resources should be exploited in an equitable manner under a united Cyprus.

The Turkish Cypriot government has repeatedly said that the resources of the island of Cyprus belonged to both communities, and that the Turkish Cypriots would not give up their rights to the resources.

Negotiations between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot administration resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013.

However, the Greek Cypriot administration suspended the talks over the divided island on Oct. 7, 2014 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus.

Turkey has removed its exploration vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa from the seas around the island.