In a statement to Kıbrıs newspaper, Foreign Minister Özdil Nami described the statement of UK High Commissioner Rick Todd pertaining to the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots as a “statement of the obvious”. Relaying that High Commissioner Rick Todd has not touched on anything new, Minister Nami stated that the British diplomat expressed the facts on the matter.

Regarding the isolation suffered by the Turkish Cypriots, Minister Özdil Nami referred to the fact that the relevant report of former UN-Secretary General Kofi Annan contains expressions to the effect that the 65% “yes” vote of the Turkish Cypriots to the Annan Plan has undone any rationale pertaining to the implementation of the isolation. Minister Nami added that the report of incumbent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus also makes reference to the isolation.

“There is no longer a valid reason for the DTR not to be discussed”

Pointing to the EU General Affairs Council’s decision in 2004 towards the lifting of the isolation on the Turkish Cypriots, Minister Nami expressed that due to the behaviour displayed by the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiations, justification for not bringing the Direct Trade Regulation (DTR) to the agenda no longer exists.

Stating “The calls that the Turkish Cypriots should not pay the price of the Cyprus problem have begun to be considered more carefully and options pertaining to what can be done are being discussed more widely within EU circles”, Minister Nami expressed that while the priority of the Turkish Cypriot side is to reach a comprehensive settlement, the Turkish Cypriots cannot be expected to pay the price of the prolongation of the settlement process.

Minister Nami expressed his expectation for the world to take a concrete step to lift the isolation which it describes as “a violation of human rights”, and expressed that the initiatives of the Ministry are ongoing in this regard.

“The issue will be brought to the EP agenda this year”

Minister Nami referred to the statement of European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz that the DTR will be brought to the agenda of the EP General Assembly in 2015 and that the EU wishes to explore all its options regarding the DTR prior to exerting pressure on the EU member states which are against it, adding that the EU is nearing that point. Expressing that EU member states are discomforted by the fact that the Greek Cypriot side turns a blind eye to the isolation, Minister Nami stated “our hope is for a more constructive stance to be taken regarding the isolation and for a formula to be generated within the framework of respect towards the single international identity of Cyprus. We expected them to allow the use of the name `Hellim`, which is the inherent right of the Turkish Cypriots, rather than prevent it”.

“The Greek Cypriots rejected the EU proposals”

Underlining the rejection by the Greek Cypriot side of the EU proposals regarding a separate Turkish Cypriot control mechanism for hellim, Minister Nami referenced the Greek Cypriots’ description of the TRNC as “areas not under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus” upon their accession to the EU, hence the claim that controls over hellim cannot be conducted in the north.

“Solutions pertaining to hellim were developed and the process had entered its final phase, however the Greek Cypriot side attempted to exert its own sovereignty over the North instead of engaging in cooperation”, stated Nami. Also mentioning that he doesn’t want the issue to turn into a diplomatic battle, Minister Nami added “We want the interests of the entire island to be protected through cooperation”.