Prime Minister Tufan Erhurman has said that a problem not a crisis, exists on the natural gas issue.
He told TAK news agency that currently there is no serious activity on the Cyprus problem and regarding comments that “a natural gas crisis exists”, he said: “I do not see it as a crisis. This is a problem. The existence of this problem is related to the existence of the Cyprus problem”.
Noting that the government has also undertaken some initiatives on the issue through foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, Erhurman said: “Our position is clear: Our view is that the Cyprus problem should be solved and the federation’s competent organs which will hold discussions on this issue will take the decisions. However, it is not possible for us to accept unilateral actions on this issue before a federation is established, that is before a solution is reached, and the will of the Turkish Cypriots to be ignored.”
The Turkish Cypriot people are one of the two fundamental founding elements in Cyprus. They cannot accept the approach that “we will anyway give you a share from the income” [from natural gas revenues], because the Turkish Cypriots are not “only a group of people which takes a share from this income”, Erhurman said.
Erhurman said that the government will be more actively involved in this process and pointed out that the Greek Cypriots should abandon the attitude that “we will benefit from every kind of possibility without a solution to the Cyprus problem” and that “only the Turkish Cypriots are harmed by the non-solution”. Arguing that because there has been no solution to the Cyprus problem, the common benefit from the island’s resources has become problematic. The Turkish Cypriots will not except unilateral exploration for hydrocarbon by the Greek Cypriots, he said.
Asked about the Republican Turkish Party’s (CTP) contacts with Greek Cypriot political parties, Erhurman said that he could continue meeting with DYSI and AKEL parties as the chairman of the CTP. “I would very much like to hold contacts as prime minister as well, but I do not think that they would accept something like this”, he argued adding that he had had no meeting with Greek Cypriot parties since he became prime minister.
Furthermore, Erhurman said that clear principles are included in the government’s programme on the citizenship issue and that the coalition partners agree on the following:
1) The new citizens should not vote in the first elections (after they are granted citizenship).
2) The principle that the cabinet grants obligatorily citizenship should be abolished.
3) Clear criteria should be included in the law regarding the citizenship by exception to persons who have contributed or will contribute to the country in fields such as culture, sports and economy.
4) A provision should be made in the law so that those who come to the TRNC with a work permit, and return to their country before five years are completed, if necessary will be able to return after a certain period of time elapses.
5) Those who are granted a white card to have all benefits except for the right to vote and to be elected.
Erhurman also noted the following: “The factor which increases the number of citizenships is the work permits. After five years pass, the right of applying for citizenship comes into force. If a certain period of time passes and it becomes ten years, the issue becomes a matter of human rights”, he concluded.