Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay attended the international meeting organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation near Milan, in Italy.

Speaking to the TAK news agency after attending an international conference organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on the issue of hydrocarbons, the TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Özersay said that they were conveying the Turkish Cypriot side’s positions at various international platforms so that approaches which take into account the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people can be developed.

“By exchanging views with policy or decision makers or those who can influence the views of policy or decision makers on the issue of hydrocarbons we are allowing everyone to understand our foreign policy. With an active diplomacy, we defend our position, arguments and rights at every platform that is possible abroad. We cannot accomplish this by only negotiating with the UN, some ambassadors and other diplomats in Cyprus. Being active internationally is very important for achieving our goals as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” he added.

Underlining the need for the two sides in Cyprus to adopt a model of cooperation, Özersay said “a permanent stability in this region is possible only with a lasting and just solution or through temporary arrangements and mutual dependency between the two sides even without reaching a lasting, just and comprehensive settlement”. Without reaching a settlement on the Cyprus problem will bring about a mutual interdependence among all relevant actors in implementing cooperation in trade, economy, tourism, transportation, energy and so on. Permanent stability lies in such relationships.

Özersay also stated that the two sides had been engaged in 50 years of talks on a theoretical and abstract future.

“We are unable to focus on today because of the time and energy we are spending on this issue. This is where the problem lies. Concrete steps from the bottom up and a relationship based on cooperation is inevitable” said Özersay, adding that the time had come to think about this more seriously.

Özersay continued as follows:

It is not possible and necessary to try and predict how the years will take us in respect of the type of partnership in which the relations will develop.  If we do not want to be drowned in the discussions of whether a federation or a bi-zonal federation or a confederation, we need to start collaborating in the way I mentioned and leave this relationship to a natural course. It could also result in a federal partnership with increasing confidence at the end of the day.

Özersay also noted that it is clearly seen that the Greek Cypriot political leadership is not willing to share the governance with the Turkish Cypriots.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Özersay also warned that ‘the critical threshold for the natural gas of the Eastern Mediterranean is already here and if the gas companies are ready to take those risks they will also have to take the responsibility as well”.

Özersay continued: “For a natural gas cooperation which is not indexed to the solution process of the Cyprus issue, the natural gas companies should be mediators or should offer a proper dialogue platform to the parties who do not recognize each other, and not discuss the natural gas issue resulting from the approaches of the Greek Cypriots’

In addition to that Özersay underlined that if those resources are common and they also belong to Turkish Cypriots that means without our participation and acceptance it is impossible to put them on the International market. If the international petroleum companies do not encourage the Turkish Cypriot Side and the Greek Cypriot Side to make an agreement on the national resources before putting the natural gas onto the international market and do not establish a conditional approach in this direction, this issue would cause a headache to all the parties and the risks that companies take will seriously increase.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay finally stressed that the status quo which provides comparative stability in and around the island of Cyprus must not deceive anyone and although some of the international actors do not take the initiative to change the status quo because of this comparative stability, they must not be deceived because permanent stability can only be created by mutual dependence type of relations.