Foreign Minister Özdil Nami pointed to the impossibility of reaching a settlement on the Cyprus issue without sitting at the negotiation table.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Minister Nami assessed the visit of Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, to the Greek Cypriot administration of South Cyprus.

Stating that he considered positively the statements of Tsipras that a bi-communal bi-zonal federal solution must be found on the Island, Minister Nami indicated that there is a rising negative political atmosphere against a federal solution in the Greek Cypriot side. Considering the approach of Tsipras as “a response to the Greek Cypriots”, Minister Nami stated:

“However, this must now turn into concrete steps. If Greece sincerely wants a settlement on the Island, she should fulfill her responsibility with regards to encouraging the Greek Cypriot leadership to return to the negotiation table. It is not possible to achieve peace without sitting at the negotiation table. The first requirement is for the side which withdrew from the table to immediately return to it”.

Minister Nami expressed that following the return of the Greek Cypriot side to the negotiation table, the negotiation process must focus on the remaining unresolved issues, and emphasized that the Greek Cypriot side must cease using hydrocarbons and EU-related issues as bargaining chips at the negotiations. Stating that these matters should be considered as factors to ease reaching a comprehensive settlement rather than as bargaining chips, Foreign Minister Nami added “Unfortunately, we have observed that the Greek Cypriot leadership is behaving with a mentality detrimental to the negotiations rather than a constructive one. If there is to be a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, both sides must respect each other’s legitimate rights and interests”.

Expressing his hope that the words regarding a federal settlement of the new government in Greece will be supported by actions, Minister Nami stated “We will closely follow the statements and actions of the government”.

Regarding the hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Minister Nami pointed out that Tsipras only mentioned the sovereignty rights of the Greek Cypriots and that he has observed the repeated erroneous assessments of Greece on the matter. Foreign Minister Nami also expressed his hope that Tsipras will soon abandon this approach which turns a blind eye to the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.

Minister Nami added that the criticisms towards the activities of Barboros Hayrettin Paşa seismic exploration ship are the result of one-sided assessments. Emphasizing that those who consider a government which is solely comprised of Greek Cypriots as the government of the entirety of Cyprus do not have the right to speak on international law, Foreign Minister Nami assessed that “These are one-sided assessments and do not hold any weight beyond the repetition of known official opinions”.