TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu in Ankara for official meetings
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 meetings need 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 aircraft and helicopters on the 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 the 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.
Akıncı: “Taboos should be broken”
With the on-going forest fires in South Cyprus, and to prevent further environmental disaster and more casualties, President Mustafa Akıncı has said, “In such a situation, stereotyped views of politics and diplomacy cannot be our guide. The only guide can be values of humanity and wisdom.”
In his written statement President Akıncı summarized the process and the latest developments regarding the forest fire in Troodos.
“I conveyed that we are ready to cooperate, first to Mr. Anastasiades’ team through my advisors on Saturday, and then I personally called the Greek Cypriot leader and reiterated my offer, telling him that we could send our fire engines and fire-fighters to help put out the fire. When he asked me where the Turkish helicopters would land and stated that he would not be able to accept their landing at the Ercan Airport, I told him that it would be meaningless to persist in Larnaca. I said that it is not necessary for them to land in Ercan either and that they can land in Pınarbaşı or Güzelyurt. I also added that the most appropriate and closest place to take water from the sea for this fire is Güzelyurt Bay and I said that, if they wish to do so, I could make it possible for the other aircraft to take water from Güzelyurt Bay as well. From my point of view, in the face of such a great disaster, there is no meaning in where the aircrafts will land, from where they will depart, how it will be coordinated and what this would politically mean. In such a situation, our guide cannot be politics or the well-established rules of diplomacy. Our guide can only be wisdom and the values of humanity. As I have repeatedly stated what needs to be done is to help putting out this fire in the most rapid and effective manner and I don’t have any political reservations about this. Everyone who values nature, the environment and humanity should think and act in accordance with this framework.”
Türkeş: “The Greek Cypriot side has shown its carelessness as usual”
Speaking at a reception of Minister of Public Works and Communications Kemal Dürüst, Türkeş expressed his deep sorrow at the forest fires in South Cyprus and added that both TRNC and Turkey stand by ready to help.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş stated that “The Greek Cypriot side has shown its carelessness as usual”. Türkeş said: “The Greek Cypriot side was supposed to receive assistance from us but they are waging a meaningless debate from their own complicated political perspective as to “whether to use the same Mediterranean water from the North or the South”.
Eroğlu: “The Greek Cypriots are not able to do these things without asking the priests”
Regarding the forest fires in South Cyprus, Turkish Minister for Forestry and Water Works Veysel Eroğlu said: “All of our helicopters, aircraft and sprinklers stand by ready to help”.
Stating that over 680 forest fires have broken out across the country and that 1,088 hectares have been damaged, Eroğlu said:
“This is not a small number of fires and Turkey has been keeping fire-fighting helicopters and aircrafts ready in case Greek Cypriot side accept our offer of help. One of these aircraft is available in Antalya. We have previously offered both our access to water and our access to oil. But that Greek Cypriots cannot accept owing to the opposition from a small number of priests who are against a unified Cyprus, claiming that ‘using the water or fuel of Turks is inappropriate’. And it appears that the Greek Cypriots will not accept our help without their permission.
Leaders are holding the postponed meeting
President Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades are holding the postponed meeting today due to the forest fires in South Cyprus.
The meeting is being held at the building allocated by the UN for the negotiations in the buffer zone as part of the intensified negotiations process.
In his statement following the last leaders meeting on Friday, President Akıncı has said that agreement is close on the issue of federal competences, and it is believed that the issue can be finalized at today’s meeting.
Subsequent leaders’ meeting will be held on July 1.
Lakkotripis has talked about the 3rd round license tender
Greek Cypriot Energy Minister Yorgos Lakkotripis has announced that within the framework of the 3rd round license tender for the 6th, 8th and 10th parcels in so-called “Exclusive Economic Zone (MEB)”, interested companies are expected to hand in their proposals to the Greek Cypriot Administration by 22 July 2016.
The Greek Cypriot Haravgi newspaper reported that Lakkotripis met with the new members of the Greek Cypriot Parliament Energy Committee. It was reported that the parties have decided to arrange a new meeting behind closed doors where hydrocarbons and especially the “Aphrodite” issue will be discussed.
The newspaper also reported that a briefing will be made about Shell, the company which is the new player of the partnership in Aphrodite’s gas field. It was also reported that Shell is already in communication with the Energy Ministry and views have been exchanged. According to the newspaper, AKEL called for the Greek Cypriot Administration to take forward an integrated energy plan at the same meeting.
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Pictures shown are courtesy of the TRNC Public Information Office Facebook page.