TRNC News Today 23rd October 2013

ERTUĞ: “EVERYONE WILL BENEFIT FROM AN AGREEMENT. WE CAN BREAK THE ICE AND OPEN A NEW PERIOD”

Evaluating the Cyprus negotiation process to Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, the President’s Special Representative and Spokesman Osman Ertuğ expressed that the Turkish side has approached the process positively since the beginning and continued: “Our preference is to make a joint statement. An agreement should be made on this. However if there is a disagreement, this is not an obstacle for resumption of the negotiations. We are ready to launch the negotiations without any precondition”.

Recording that the negotiations with the Greek side have been continuing for more than a month, Ertuğ said that the aim of the negotiations was to conclude with a joint statement.

Pointing out that the visits of special representatives to Ankara and Athens would be the first in history, Ertuğ indicated: “We hope that the two sides will benefit from this, so we have approached the process positively since the beginning. We have nothing to lose. Everyone will benefit from the agreement. We can break the ice and open a new period.”

Noting that the Turkish side followed the UN parameters and Osman Ertug 2procedure, Ertuğ stressed that the Turkish side approached positively to the UN’s bridging efforts concerning this issue.

Evaluating the messages given by the Greek Cypriot side to the public opinion and their attitudes at the negotiations as ‘reluctance’, Ertuğ stated: “Unfortunately, we have not yet observed any approach from the other side which is proactive, takes initiative and puts forward political courage and political will.”

Stating: “Our hopes for peace in Cyprus is not exhausted yet”, Special Representative Osman Ertuğ continued: “We expect from the Greek side to regulate their internal politics and make the necessary decisions, since we neither have the luxury to influence their internal politics nor have such a role. This would be disrespectful”.

Expressing that they were working on a settlement which would be agreed on by the two leaders, Ertuğ said: “If this settlement is realized, ultimately it will be presented to the approval of the two peoples through simultaneous referenda and they will make the decision”.

Defending that the messages released by the Greek Cypriot side to  public opinion and to the Turkish side through diplomatic channels should be in harmony, Ertuğ said that there were two peoples in Cyprus who would make the final decision at the referenda, and the side whose sincerity should be tested during that process was the Greek Cypriot side. Ertuğ said:

“This is because we voted ‘yes’ for all the UN plans in the past. At the current stage they are putting forward preconditions. They prioritize an issue like Varosha. Similarly, the federation to be formed will be a transformation of the Republic of Cyprus, in other words, the Turkish Cypriot State will be completely disregarded and we will find ourselves in the European Union through a transformation in line with their demands and a new constitution. Of course, all these fancy words and wrong approaches will not take us to a settlement. Realism and statesmanship are needed in this issue. It is our right to expect such a statesmanship from the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiadis”.

TURKISH EU MINISTER: “IF A NEW MAP IN A NEW PLAN COMES UP, WE CAN LEAN TO IT”

Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış referred to the Greek Cypriot side’s proposal on Maraş (Varosha) and stated that if a new map regarding Maraş in a new plan came up and the two sides agreed on it, Turkey could lean to it.

Speaking on NTV channel, Minister Egemen Bağış pointed out that the lack of a solution in Cyprus was primarily against the interests of the EU and Cyprus as well as Turkey Egemen Bağışand added that the Annan plan, rejected by the Greek Cypriot administration, although  not perfect, was one of the most reasonable peace plans put forward. “We will receive the Greek Cypriot negotiator in Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot representative will be received in Athens and a new mutual process will start”, said Bağış, explaining Turkey’s approach. Continuing Bağış said: “I hope a new formula is put forward, a new plan to emerge by the end of the year, so that there will be a solution approved by the two sides. In such a case, Turkey will naturally give support. What’s important is that the two peoples in the island live together in tranquillity”.

Bağış stressed that in this way there would be an important momentum in Turkey’s EU negotiation process. Referring to the Greek Cypriot side’s recent “proposal on Maraş”, Egemen Bağış said:

“The Maraş issue is part of a comprehensive settlement. Contrary to the claims of some politicians in South Cyprus, we will not give even a small piece of territory in Cyprus for the sake of opening a chapter in the Turkey-EU negotiation process. We will not give a territory even for full membership. We only say that we will support every option that will be approved by the two sides. However, Maraş should be part of a comprehensive settlement. This was included in the Annan plan, but the Greek Cypriot citizens had rejected it. If a new map in a new plan comes up and after discussing it in a democratic process, it is agreed by the two sides and peoples, as Turkey we can lean towards it. However, in the history of the EU, no country has ever made a territorial concession for the sake of opening negotiation chapters. Turkey will not be the first to do so.”

Source: TRNC Public Information Office