Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that fresh Cyprus negotiations can only begin when the Greek Cypriots changed their mindset and are willing to share power with the Turkish Cypriots.
The foreign minister, in an interview with Greek daily newspaper ‘Kathimerini’, also noted that bloc 6 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), lay within Turkey’s continental shelf.
“Turkish Cypriots, as co-owners of Cyprus, have an inalienable right to the natural resources of the island,” he said. South Cyprus was going ahead with hydrocarbon exploration without any consultation with the Turkish Cypriot side, he added.
“Both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey have repeatedly pointed out that unilateral exploration and exploitation activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are not legitimate as there is no just, viable solution to the Cyprus problem,” Cavusoglu said.
He added that South Cyprus’ EEZ partly encroached on Turkey’s continental shelf. “Needless to say, we will never allow arbitrary exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on our continental shelf”, he emphasised.
Referring to the Cyprus negotiations, Cavusoglu said they had failed because the Greek Cypriot side was not willing to share power. “They still believe they can absorb them [Turkish Cypriots] into the existing administration instead of establishing a genuine new partnership based on political equality”, he said. Turkish Cypriots would never accept minority status, said Cavusoglu.
New negotiations on reunifying the island could begin “only if Greek Cypriots change their mentality”. “We still believe that only a compromise resulting from negotiations can be sustainable. The question is what form this compromise will take and what will be the new goal. This is something that we all have to agree on. And only then can the new negotiations begin”, the Turkish Foreign Minister said.
Currently, both sides are in a period of reflection and a clearer picture would after Sunday’s presidential elections in the South, he concluded.