Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay held a conference at Cambridge University in the UK entitled “The causes of the Cyprus issue’s deadlock and possible ways out”.
Özersay met with Turkish Cypriot and other students at the event he attended as a guest of the Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum.
In his speech at the event, Özersay drew attention to the importance of asking the right questions about why the Cyprus problem is unsolved and finding the reason for this problem not being resolved. Emphasizing the reasons of the Cyprus problem, Özersay mentioned the Cyprus negotiations, which have been going on for more than 50 years, for which a solution has not been reached although all the negotiation methods and techniques have been tried and said that the problem is not concerning negotiation methods and techniques, related to the mismatch between the solution model which is trying to be created and the current conditions of Cyprus.
Özersay pointed out that there must be a will to share administration and wealth among the interested parties in order to have a federal solution and mutual trust among the interested parties and a federation experience in the country, adding that many of these issues are not available in Cyprus in today’s conditions, He also said that today’s conditions are not suitable to make a federal partnership possible because the Greek Cypriot side is not yet ready to share the power and wealth, and there is a serious issue of trust and distrust between the parties.
He emphasized that various steps can be taken in order to persuade the Greek Cypriot side to share the administration and wealth with the Turkish Cypriot side so that the present conditions on the island can change, and in particular, it may be effective to convince the Greek Cypriots to share these resources with the Turkish Cypriots before the solution.
Stating that another move is to take steps towards lifting the isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots, for direct trade and direct flights to the TRNC, Özersay said that if such steps were taken, the Greek Cypriot side could turn towards cooperation based on partnership, yet at this time the international community has no intention to take such bold steps.
Pointing out that if the present conditions on the island cannot be changed, a collaborative partnership should be discussed in negotiations instead of a federal partnership, Özersay emphasized that there is such an approach in the establishment of the European Union. Özersay said that the European Union is a partnership established on such logic by cooperating on coal and steel. Similarly, a more realistic partnership can be established with a gradual and universal approach. Stating that the two parties in Cyprus can start by cooperating on a limited number of issues based on the current situation, and that they can gradually create this by cooperating in respect of various issues over a period of time, instead of deciding beforehand what kind of partnership it will become, Özersay pointed out that there may be some issues on which there can be cooperation, such as natural gas, cultural heritage, environment, trade, education, tourism.
He also mentioned that if the necessary steps will not be taken and creative ideas regarding the solution model will not be put forward, it will only serve the status quo to continue the negotiations which have been going on for more than 50 years in the same way.
Özersay answered the questions of the participants following his speech