Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) could present direct trade opportunities for the TRNC, Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay has said.
Özersay was addressing a panel at the House of Lords as the guest of the TRNC Friendship Group.
The session which was chaired by Lord Northbrook was attended by Lord Magginis, Lord Kilclooney, Lord Sharkey, Lady Butterworth, Baroness Hooper, MP Andrew Rossindell as well as a number of diplomats.
Özersay said it could be possible to re-establish trade relations that had existed in the past between North Cyprus and the UK once Brexit took place.
He said that the situation presented opportunities which could be evaluated through cooperation and working together.
Highlighting the importance of establishing trade relations between the UK and North Cyprus for the Turkish Cypriot people, Özersay responded to questions regarding the hydrocarbons issue, transportation, energy, Hellim and the Cyprus negotiations process.
On the hydrocarbon issue, Özersay said that the Turkish Cypriot side is carrying out the same work as South Cyprus and that they were always pursuing peaceful action for the solution of the issue.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share the island’s offshore wealth with the Turkish Cypriot people, he said the TRNC had granted licences to Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) just as the Greek Cypriot side had to other energy firms.
He also recalled that the Greek Cypriots had rejected all proposals for the co-management of the island’s resources.
Özersay pointed out that Turkish Cypriots were co-owners of the island’s hydrocarbon resources and that what they were doing was claiming and protecting their rights.
The TRNC Foreign Minister also pointed out that the Turkish drillship ‘Yavuz’, contrary to Greek Cypriot claims, was conducting drilling for the TRNC and not for Turkey in an area licensed by the TRNC.
Also touching upon the Cyprus negotiations process, Özersay said that the current conditions in Cyprus were not suitable for a federal solution.
He expressed the need to introduce new and creative ideas for the establishment of a different partnership through cooperation between the two sides on a limited number of issues.
Özersay argued that it was possible to establish a more realistic partnership through a gradual phased and universal approach.
He also stressed that cooperation was the most important tool for a solution.
Meanwhile, within the framework of his contacts, Özersay met with Feryal Demirci Clark who is the first Turkish Cypriot female MP to be elected to the House of Commons from the Labour Party.
He also gave an interview to Kim Sengupta, the ‘Independent’ newspaper’s Defence and Diplomacy Editor on the natural gas issue in the Eastern Mediterranean, the future of the Cyprus Issue and Brexit.
Özersay said that they will continue to work towards voicing the cause of the Turkish Cypriot people on every possible international platform.