- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay’s interview published in Kathimerini newspaper ….
- Çavuşoğlu: “Greek Cypriots do not acknowledge political equality of the Turkish Cypriots” ….
The full text of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay’s interview published in Kathimerini newspaper on 24 February 2019:
- The leader of your community thinks that the international conjuncture does not allow to discuss the alternative plans on the Cyprus problem. What do you think about this issue?
Asking such a question shows that we discuss different views. A discussion has started within the Greek Cypriot side. Maybe, Mr. Anastasiades said something due to having some different aims. For example, he mentioned decentralization and a loose federation. Perhaps, his aim was different at the beginning. He might explain all these to postpone the solution, cause a disturbance and resume the negotiations as he wants. Maybe he wants to draw the Turkish Cypriot side into the negotiations and resume the negotiations from the stage at which they were left. Pandora’s Box was opened independently from their will.
- What do you mean?
The discussion was also circulated in the Turkish Cypriot community. We have not discussed the parameters within a concrete framework for a few weeks. For example, we have not discussed political equality, active participation, guarantees etc. We are trying to find an answer to the question ‘What will the framework be? ’ In fact, the other sides involved have also discussed this issue. Although Greece and UK prefer to remain faithful to a federation, they discuss the general framework. In fact, the UN was mentioning such a process with the term of ‘reflection period’. I do not maintain that a federation is something bad. But, it came to light that a federation is not possible on the basis of Cyprus conditions, because there aren’t any factors such as preparing for sharing, recognition of the needs of the other side, confidence and federal culture between the two sides.
- Today, everything shows that the conflict has arisen regarding several issues of the federation. Is it worth it to refuse a federal solution for the back seat structures of the federation?
Firstly, this question arises: Do we refuse a federation unjustly? Do we discuss the federation for five months or 50 years? Will this chapter be ended after a half century discussion? Secondly, I do not discuss the factors of that framework, because the discussion of these issues has ended.
- Since you are saying that everything has been discussed, when did the solution hopes end for the Turkish Cypriots?
There was not a problem at a concrete/definite stage for the Turkish Cypriots. Anastasiades mentioned honestly what the Turkish Cypriots had been feeling for a while. He told us: ‘We cannot accept political equality with your modality.’ He also gave examples to express his point of view about the political equality. His attitude saddened our President, our Prime Minister and myself, however we have faced the fact.
We understood that we have different points of view with our counterpart on the political equality, bizonality and the guarantees issues. Finally the reason for the current problem is not Anastasiades. The two sides understand different things from the basic parameters of the solution. Actually this is an opportunity. Now that we understand what is not possible to happen we must discuss what we will do now.
- Do you think the loose federation could be the starting point of this discussion?
In my opinion a loose federation is the cover for Anastasiades’ real intention. What is his real intention? Maybe it’s more than one thing. Perhaps Anastasiades is trying to gain time or trying to direct the attention of the Turkish Cypriot Leadership to the breaking point of the negotiations or maybe trying to express that a federation is not possible by mentioning the loose federation.
As the people are not ready he is discussing other things with Turkey at the backstage. That’s why, not the loose federation, but the essence of the issue is important. What do we see for the future of this island? Since we do not agree in this issue we need to break taboos and be creative. We need intimate dialogue and if necessary it could be without the mediation of the UN.
- The two leaders will meet shortly after our interview is published. On the basis of what you have expressed, what will the two leaders discuss?
Anastasiades’ effort to make progress (regarding decentralization) is out of the question. Turkish Cypriots will, in any case, insist on active participation and political equality as they understand themselves.
- As far as I understand, you don’t expect a positive outcome from this meeting and Lute’s effort…
There may be some improvements or decisions in the practical field towards some confidence-building measures during the meeting with the leaders. In any event, if the Greek Cypriot side do not share power and wealth, then they may agree to cooperate. If they do not want to cooperate (in some areas) again, then the Greek Cypriot side will have practically accepted the division even without consent.
- Is it not just on land, but at sea?
Yes, at sea as well. Some say: Since we’re going towards a division, will you give up your demands on resources in the south of the island in the framework of your proposal for cooperation on some issues? Let’s sit and discuss. Perhaps we will follow the examples of other countries, we will sit and negotiate, and we will give up some things on the basis of the solution model.
On the other hand, if we observe emerging of the EU, cooperation in coal and steel, and the gradual interlocking of cooperation between member states as examples, we can focus on an evolutionary approach at the point where some think that the union is heading towards a federation. In this case, the final destination has no major importance. Maybe we won’t live to see the final result. However, this does not prevent us from cooperating by choosing one or two issues. Afterwards, we will increase the cooperation stages after providing an atmosphere of trust. We will involve the European Union in this effort. We will progress gradually towards a unified representation. If the atmosphere of trust develops after 10 or 15 years and the two parties are ready to share power and wealth, this effort can turn into a federation. We do not explicitly deny this possibility.
- Is your disagreement with Akıncı related to this evolutionary model?
The important thing is not my disagreement with a person, but the problem itself. Some people are reacting because they feel that “their toys are being thrown from their pram”
We try to get out of the framework of the established system and think differently.
Çavuşoğlu: “Greek Cypriots do not acknowledge political equality of the Turkish Cypriots”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the Greek Cypriots do not acknowledge the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots who are suffering from the unjust and inhuman embargoes.
Minister Çavuşoğlu addressed the Council during the opening of the 40th. Session of the Human Rights Council which has started at the UN Office in Geneva.
Çavuşoğlu stressed: “The Greek Cypriots do not acknowledge the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots who are suffering from the unjust and inhuman embargoes. The Greek Cypriot side’s understanding of a solution is to integrate the Turkish Cypriots into their current state as an ethnic minority. The new negotiation process can start only after the change of this mentality”.