Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun said that he is concerned about the currents stage of the Cyprus talks. He claimed that the Cyprus negotiations are moving forward on the basis of the demands and wishes of the Greek Cypriot side.
Speaking on private channel Ada TV, Ozgurgun said that the Greek Cypriot side needs the agreement as much as the Turkish side and said: “We have always lowered our heads, we have always insisted on an agreement. ‘We are obliged, if there is no agreement, we are finished, we are burnt’. There is no such thing, if there is no agreement, why have we burnt? The agreement should be an agreement that will show that the Greek Cypriots need it as much as we do. It’s as if we are begging for an agreement and the Greek Cypriots are doing us a favour. I see a destitute atmosphere in the talks. One where we are begging for a solution and this upsets me deeply. We under no circumstance accept this. if there are those who support this they should walk that path with Akinci.”
The Prime Minister criticised President Mustafa Akinci’s stance, saying that he does not react when South Cyprus makes agreements with other countries on natural gas, while the Cyprus talks are ongoing. Ozgurgun also accused Akinci of not replying to President Anastasiades’ statements “There will not be a Cyprus settlement without the return of Morfou [Guzelyurt] or Karpasia [Karpaz]“. Ozgurgun noted that he has made an effort to reply to these statements, although he has been told not to make such statements, because the Cyprus talks will be harmed. He added that he does not accept Akinci’s stance.
Responding to a question regarding the South launching a new round of offshore licensing for hydrocarbon exploration, Ozgurgun asserted that this is a demonstration of routine tactics the Greek Cypriot side had been resorting to for years.
“For years the Greek Cypriots, whilst conducting negotiations with us, have been involved in some form of other activity. The Greek Cypriots have never been negotiating in sincerity and it has been the Turkish Cypriot side which has always been insisting on a settlement”, he said.
Ozgurgun pointed out that the Greek Cypriots needed a settlement of the Cyprus problem just as badly as the Turkish Cypriots did. “It’s like a perception has been created that failure to settle the Cyprus problem will be the end of us and so we are begging for a solution. Unfortunately this has been the prevailing atmosphere in the talks for a very long time. Any settlement to emerge under these conditions will not be good for us, which is why we need to adopt a firm stance. The President has been sitting at the table with his head bowed. Is this the kind of leader the Turkish Cypriot people want?” the Prime Minister asked.
Ozgurgun also called upon Akinci to come out and share with the public what concessions he has won at the negotiating table. “We are seeing statements from the Greek Cypriot side. What are we hearing from Akinci? Nothing! Just absolute silence. This, for me, is totally unacceptable. It is with deep concern I am following the negotiations,” he said.
Referring to the opening of the crossing point of Derynia, Ozgurgun said that the crossing points of Derynia and Aplic should be opened simultaneously; otherwise Akinci cannot accept the opening of Derynia crossing first. Ozgurgun alleged that the Greek Cypriot side does not want the Lefke-Aplic crossing opened out of fear that Lefke will become a thriving centre.
Asked to comment on what will happen with the agreement regarding the establishment of a youth and sports coordination office by Turkey in the TRNC, Ozgurgun said: “Frankly, I have not seen the decision yet, but as far as I am concerned, it’s a technical regulation. There are references to another international agreement of 2012, which has not been ratified by the assembly. If the assembly passes the 2012 agreement, this current agreement will have no problems. We will ratify it as soon as the assembly opens in October”.