Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay said that the Turkish Cypriot side is a key player in the latest developments on the natural gas issue, and that some diplomatic initiatives had been made on behalf of the government and the Turkish Cypriot side regarding the issue.

“The Turkish Cypriot side is now a key player on the issue of natural gas, and is no longer simply an observer,” said Özersay.

Noting that the two sides are joint owners of the natural resources on and around the Island, Özersay said: “The drilling and transferring of these natural resources to world markets in order to monetize these resources without our consent is meaningless. It is also both unjust and in violation of international law. Since the natural resources are jointly owned by both sides, the other side’s approval is needed for action to be taken, and one side cannot possess the wealth without the other side. You cannot unilaterally authorize companies to take these resources.”

Özersay stated that the message from Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side was very clear: “We will not be put in a passive position.”

“We have made a proposal for you to drill and manage these resources cooperatively, in order for us to sell them together on the world markets, and our proposal is still valid. If you are willing to do this, let’s do it. If you avoid doing this, we will not allow you to use the natural resources without our permission.”

Recalling that the recent Cyprus negotiations held in Switzerland were inconclusive, as was declared by the UN Secretary-General, Özersay said that “we are currently in an interim period on the Cyprus issue, and that this period is very important.”

He further stated that: “It is obvious that the Greek Cypriot side is not ready to share the wealth and the governance of the Island with us. Therefore, if any negotiation process is going to be initiated, it first must be proved that something has changed, and the two sides have a common goal.”

“Greek Cypriots have to show that they are ready to share the governance of the Island with the Turkish Cypriot side. On the other hand, they also have to prove that they are ready to share the wealth as well. This is directly related to the natural gas issue.”

“In my opinion, if the Greek Cypriots are not ready to share the wealth with the Turkish Cypriots, it means that there is a very serious problem with the partnership. We have to test whether they have the same goal and are willing to share. This test is possible through dialogue or in coordination with the UN. As a result of the test, it could be discussed whether a new negotiation process is necessary or not. If negotiations continue not to be results-oriented, then the Greek Cypriot side will continue to take advantage of the current status quo – and negotiations must not be used to uphold the status quo. The Turkish Cypriots do not intend to enter into such a process.”

“President Akıncı also gave a clear message by not appointing a new negotiator. In the coming period, the Turkish Cypriot side will have a foreign policy vision on the issue of natural gas, the Cyprus problem and other foreign policy issues, and will be an actor, not merely sit in the audience. Everyone will be able to witness this”.