Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu responded to the questions concerning the agenda on the Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk and replied to a question about the Cyprus issue stating ‘If we are going to negotiate, at first we need to decide what to negotiate’.
Minister Çavuşoğlu stated that Turkey changed the balances in the Eastern Mediterranean by sending drilling vessels to Cyprus. He reminded that the Greek Cypriots unilaterally conduct drilling operations while the Yavuz drilling ship is operating in a section within the Turkish continental shelf, which has been registered with the United Nations. In addition to that Çavuşoğlu said ‘We do not discuss our actions in our continental shelf with anyone. We are ready to negotiate a regional agreement with all parties of the Mediterranean including the Greek side with a sharing approach and the interlocutor of the Greek side is the TRNC’.
Çavuşoğlu stressed that the Greek Cypriot administration, despite all warnings, is continuing to issue exploration licences to international companies in blocks in the Eastern Mediterranean ignoring the fundamental rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Çavuşoğlu also said that a federation model has been discussed for a solution to the Cyprus problem for the past 60 years and they do not exclude this option, however they cannot afford another failure from now on.
Minister Çavuşoğlu concluded his comments on Cyprus saying ‘If we are going to negotiate, at first we need to decide what to negotiate. We must put all options on the table and all parties should express their opinions for specifying the framework of the negotiation. The time to start a negotiation just for the sake of the conversation is over. The components in the political equality that are necessary for Turkish Cypriots such as rotating presidency, effective participation and Turkish Cypriot side’s one positive vote, must be designated. At first we will make a 5+1 meeting which means two parties, 3 guarantors and the UN, however before that the Greek Cypriots asked for meetings with the two parties and the UN but all of these will be unofficial meetings, not a negotiation. On the condition that we agree on these issues and a negotiation document as a result of these unofficial meetings, then we can start a negotiation process. There will not be an open ended negotiation process anymore. We want a permanent solution in Cyprus but the Greek Cypriots do not’.