Özersay: “Providing balance in the region can bring the sides to the negotiation table before a comprehensive solution”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay attended television programmes on NTV, CNN Türk, Habertürk within the framework of his Istanbul meetings.
Özersay answered the questions regarding the agenda and expressed his vision as a candidate for the TRNC Presidency. He also met with Turkish Cypriots living in Istanbul.
Stressing that if the natural gas resources are used in a good way in the Eastern Mediterranean, it can be a very important opportunity, Özersay said that everyone in the world accepts that one of the two partners of this wealth is the Turkish Cypriots. Adding that the attitude of the International community for reaching a comprehensive solution is very important, Özersay said that a big mistake was made in 2004. The opportunity for a comprehensive solution was missed when the Greek Cypriot side became an EU member.
Pointing out that today there is a similar opportunity on the issue of natural gas, Özersay said “If the international community puts forth a conditional approach to the Greek Cypriot side to receive the approval of the Turkish Cypriot side to use these resources, a change can start in the Greek Cypriot side because the Greek Cypriot side is satisfied regarding the status quo today. If a solution is not reached, they are already an EU member. We as the Turkish Cypriot side have taken some steps together with the Republic of Turkey to ensure our rights for the natural gas. We have carried out seismic exploration and given licences by not creating tension, as the Greek Cypriot side. The Turkish Petroleum Corporation conducts its work on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot side within the framework of the agreement made, and similarly EXXON, Total or ENI companies conduct exploration on behalf of the Greek Cypriots. Therefore, I hope the two sides can sit at the negotiation table on the natural gas issue before a comprehensive solution”.
Stressing that the ground for a federal partnership on the island is not realistic, Özersay said “The current conditions should be changed with the new views. Trying to reach a solution within the framework of a federal model is not realistic. A partnership based on cooperation should be tried to be established. The sides should start to cooperate on a few issues, not on all issues, and when the confidence is built, it should be returned into a partnership”.
Moreover, adding that the TRNC needs a foreign policy apart from the Cyprus issue, Özersay expressed “A future based on only persuading the Greek Cypriot side is not secure for the Turkish Cypriots. We should put forth an approach which will not be dependent on a comprehensive solution and keep us at the negotiation table for years. The Turkish Cypriots can be a regional actor before a solution. We need a foreign policy apart from the Cyprus problem from now on.”