Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay evaluated issues pertaining to the Cyprus problem and natural gas on the island, in an interview with Reuters published over the weekend. He said: “As the Turkish Cypriot side, our stance is clear on the Cyprus issue. However, the question that must be answered by both sides is: Do we have a common vision or not?  This must be clarified first. We do not support an open ended and inconclusive negotiations process that has turned into a vicious circle.”

Deputy Prime Minister made clear during the interview that the Cyprus negotiations are a means rather than an end for the Turkish Cypriot side, and added that, at this point, the Greek Cypriot side needs to make a decision as to whether or not they are ready to share the administration, prosperity, power, and resources on the basis of equality with the Turkish Cypriots.

Özersay also spoke about the issue of the Aplıç border crossing with Reuters. He said, “I understand that the Greek Cypriot side has made up excuses to delay the opening of the Aplıç border crossing. So far, the opening has been delayed twice and three different dates have been discussed for the opening. Therefore it seems clear that the Greek Cypriot side either does not want the opening of the Aplıç border crossing or wants to delay it.”

Touching on the issue of permits given for religious ceremonies to take place in North Cyprus, the Foreign Minister said: “Since I have taken the office, approval has been given for 14 religious services to take place in the north:  11 of them for the Greek Cypriots and 3 of them for Maronites.”

Foreign Minister Özersay also spoke about the natural gas issue, emphasising that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to solve the issue through diplomatic means, and is keeping communication channels open.

“If the Greek Cypriot side has the intention to act jointly on this issue then the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to sit down and discuss this and reach an agreement. However, if they continue to disregard the Turkish Cypriot side’s will and rights then the TRNC will also carry out drilling and similar works by the authorized firm” said Minister Özersay.