Diplomatic channels are open should the Greek Cypriot side wish to take joint steps with the Turkish Cypriot side on the issue of natural resources, TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay has said.
In an interview to the Anadolu News Agency during his latest visit to Ankara, the TRNC Foreign Minister evaluated the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem as well as bilateral relations between the two countries.
Reminding that the negotiations process had ended in failure with the Crans-Montana summit held last year, Özersay said that negotiating just for the sake of holding negotiations was not a good thing.
“The Turkish Cypriot people have been prisoners of a negotiations process for the past 50 years”, he said, adding that the Turkish Cypriot side did not want a new round of endless negotiations which will not achieve any results.
He stressed that the Greek Cypriot side needed to show that it was ready to share power and the island’s wealth with the Turkish Cypriots.
The foreign minister expressed the view that negotiations cannot be the purpose but only a means to an end.
Özersay added that the fact that the negotiations have not restarted should not be a source of concern.
“We have tangible and important goals which we have been postponing for years. And that is economic and social development”, he said.
On the issue of hydrocarbons, Özersay reminded that the island’s natural wealth was the property of both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
“For Turkish Cypriots, the natural wealth around this island is not disputed. The wealth belongs to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots and everyone accepts this”, he said.
The TRNC Foreign Minister however added that the Greek Cypriot side’s current stance on the issue was unacceptable.
“Acknowledging the Turkish Cypriot peoples’ share to be generated from natural gas revenues but keeping Turkish Cypriots out of the whole decision making process as well as stating that they (Greek Cypriots) will decide when, how much of these revenues will be given to Turkish Cypriots is totally unacceptable and contradictory”, he added.
Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot side was not pursuing a ‘strong arm’ policy on the issue, Özersay said that the Turkish Cypriot side’s channels for diplomacy were open.
“We are open to dialogue if the Greek Cypriots decide to share to act together with us. But if they ignore us, the Turkish Cypriot side, before resorting to force or deterrence, will be giving a firm the authority to carry out its own activities on behalf of Turkish Cypriots, just as they have done”, he concluded.