Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman has held his first official press conference on the hydrocarbons issue.
He responded to a number of questions on the current state of tensions prompted by the Greek Cypriot Administration’s actions, and outlined the TRNC’s intentions going forward.
Addressing the Greek Cypriot Leader Nicos Anastasiades’ recent statement on natural gas exploration, Prime Minister Erhürman pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side has wholly failed to “reflect the will of the Turkish Cypriots in their current activities.”
The Greek Cypriots have given two reasons for this: one related to the agreement made in the Talat-Christofias period, which stated that the authority of gas exploration would be a federal matter after a settlement has been reached; the second relates to a statement by the Greek Cypriot Administration’s Council of Ministers that a fund would be set up for all Cypriot people to benefit from any hydrocarbon wealth. Erhürman made clear that neither of these reasons can possibly justify the wholesale exclusion of the Turkish Cypriot people in the current situation.
Erhürman emphasised that the right approach is to form a committee on this issue, as the Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly stated in the negotiations. This joint committee should carry out drilling and exploration activities in a manner that is mutually agreed and reflects the will of both sides, as the two essential partners in this process. He also stated that the Turkish Cypriots will continue to be unable to exercise their rights under international law as long as this mutual agreement or process is absent.
Erhürman stated that Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay has been tasked with overseeing future developments in this area, and that the TRNC will continue to be actively involved in the process going forward.
Source: TRNC Public Information Office