Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu provided the media with some details of his first visit to Turkey as well as an update on the negotiation process.

Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu explained that the most recent developments of the negotiations had been discussed buring his meetings in Ankara, as well as the opening of new consulates in Antalya, Trabzon and Gaziantep.

As he made an assessment of the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus, he said: “If you do not sit at the negotiation table on equal terms, then getting up from the table as equals is impossible. We do not sit at the negotiation table on equal terms.”

Minister Ertuğruloğlu said, as he reminded listeners that he was Foreign Minister when the Annan Plan was on the agenda between 1999-2004: “I never thought that the negotiation process would end with a mutually acceptable, fair and viable agreement. The negotiation process itself did not allow it. The whole negotiation process was based on inequality.”

Minister Ertuğruloğlu stated that the Presidential elections which will be held in South Cyprus in 2018 mark a natural timeline for the negotiation process in Cyprus, which he emphasized should not carry on forever.

Referring back to the 2004 UN backed Annan Plan, which the Greek Cypriots had overwhelmingly rejected; Ertuğruloğlu said “It is not in the interest of the Greek Cypriots to agree to a plan such as the Annan Plan. They know that they would not approve of an agreement which puts the Turkish Cypriots on an equal basis with them and that saying ‘no’ for a second time will not benefit them either. Their policy is to avoid going to another referendum and just to leave this process hanging by suspending negotiations now and again. We should not let this happen. It is clear that the current process is no longer sustainable.”

“We are dealing with a process where the Greek Cypriot side is recognized as the Republic of Cyprus, whereas the Turkish Cypriot community is being portrayed as an ethnic minority within this Republic, whose political identity and sovereignty are being denied. The proposal to unite the Island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation would carry the possibility of leaving the future of Turkish Cypriots at the mercy of the Greek Cypriot side if the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriot side were ignored.”

While acknowledging that there should also be a meeting including the guarantor powers of Turkey, Greece and the UK, Ertuğruloğlu said that “Turkey’s guarantee is essential for us. It is something which is not even open to discussion.”

“We are equal owners of the island of Cyprus. We are not a nation that will be brought under the influence of the Greek Cypriots, or left at their mercy. Our only assurance and guarantor in this matter is of course our motherland Turkey.”