Upon the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu travelled to Ankara on 21 June 2016 for various meetings, and held his first bilateral meeting with Çavuşoğlu. The Foreign Minister also visited the TRNC Embassy in Ankara and Anıtkabir and attended the Ifthar dinner hosted by the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in his honour.

Following the meeting between the Foreign Minister and Çavuşoğlu, the two ministers held a joint press conference.

In his speech, Minister Ertuğruloğlu said: “We do not have consensus with the Greek Cypriot side yet. The Cyprus problem which the Turkish and Greek Cypriot side try to solve is very different from each other. The problem must be defined in an agreement. As long as the dominating mentality continues, reaching an agreement in Cyprus does not seem to be possible. The Greek Cypriot side should give up this dominating mentality. The Greek Cypriot side should be aware that the Turkish Cypriots have equal rights with them and should show respect not to control us”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu reminded the press that there is a tradition for mutual visits between the TRNC and Turkey for any new Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and the President. Stating that Turkey will continue to work in close cooperation with the TRNC Foreign Ministry, Çavuşoğlu focused on the current regional issues, the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus and the continued aim to work in close cooperation.

Underlining that Turkey will continue to support and protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots in the ongoing negotiation process, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said: “We hope to reach a settlement within a year. The general elections on the Greek Cypriot side are now completed and there are now no more excuses. The negotiations should be more intense among the leaders and the negotiators”.

Stating that Turkey is not responsible for the delay in reaching a settlement in Cyprus, Çavuşoğlu said: “The delay in the negotiations is not because of the TRNC or Turkey.  The Greek Cypriot side has taken unilateral steps on the issue of the gas reserves and they also did not come to the negotiation table. Now the process should be intensified.  One plus five meeting needs to be held, if the Greek Cypriot side is willing to solve the Cyprus issue”.

Pointing out that the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot people also have the rights to the gas and oil reserves in Cyprus, Çavuşoğlu said that the revenue to be derived from underground sources should be decided together, not unilaterally.

Minister Çavuşoğlu also mentioned the forest fires in South Cyprus which started on 19 June and still continue. Çavuşoğlu said, “The Greek Cypriot Administration is trying to land Turkish aircrafts and helicopters to Greek Cypriot side. This is something we cannot accept. Likewise, when he came to İstanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit, we showed our hospitality and President Erdoğan gave a dinner. It was an informal dinner and President Akıncı was invited. We wished two leaders to come together on an informal occasion and for a message of friendship to be given. Confidence building measures are also important. Two communities will live together. Therefore, humanitarian issues should not be abused.”

Within the framework of his official contacts in Ankara, Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu also met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş and President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly İsmail Kahraman. Minister Ertuğruloğlu also attended the fast- breaking meal given his honour by TRNC Ankara Ambassador Fazıl Can Korkut.

Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu will be received by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today at 15.00.