Talks would still be on if I had been president: Siber

Speaker of the Assembly and Republican Turkish Party (CTP) candidate in the presidential elections, Sibel Siber has argued that if she was at the negotiating table, President Anastasiades would not have run away from the negotiations.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Siber said that the only thing which the Turkish Cypriot side had done when President Anastasiades abandoned the negotiating table, was to say that “he should return the way he ran away“. “There was neither any international call nor any initiative on the issue of warning the UN. As if this is what it was expected”, she added.

Siber argued that the forthcoming presidential elections are very important for the course of the Cyprus problem. She said that they have struggled to achieve a federal Cyprus, that the Turkish Cypriots want to become a part of the world and that the time has come for them to take their place in the world with their own identity.

She added: “We exist with our democratic structure. The approval of our existence is important for us. We want a solution. Eroglu does not give the impression of being trustworthy on the issue if his wish is for a solution. He is meeting with a high level mission chief and says that ‘we should lift the isolations, you have promised us, we said yes to the Annan Plan’. The insincerity is essentially here. He is someone who had carried out a ‘no’ campaign for the Annan Plan. He is the representative of the 35% who said ‘no’. How he can enthusiastically represent us? You decide”.

Asked what she would do if Turkey issued another NAVTEX instruction and the Greek Cypriot side abandoned the negotiating table again, Siber said that the NAVTEX was a result of “the unilateral drilling as the Republic of Cyprus”. She said:

“Hydrocarbon is a common asset of the two peoples, but while on the one hand the Greek Cypriot leader was talking about the solution, on the other he benefited from the Republic of Cyprus’ identity and launched drilling operations. This was a stance contrary to the spirit of the solution and had a negative influence. Our proposal, however, was the discussion of the hydrocarbons by a technical committee, by taking into consideration that they are a common asset of the two peoples. Therefore, this could not be an excuse. If this had been well understood by the world, Anastasiades’ abandoning the table, would not have been received well.”

Siber went on to argue that President Eroglu had achieved nothing during the past five years and uses fear and intimidation to win people’s votes in the elections, by saying to the Turkish settlers that “they will put you on a ship and send you back”.

Asked what will happen with the issue of the fenced off city of Varosha and Ercan airport should she be elected, Siber said that Varosha can open only under UN control, because there is a relevant UN Resolution. She argued: “If you violate this Resolution and open Varosha, it means that you have lost at the negotiating table, because the Greek Cypriots have no positive view of this situation. Therefore, you are causing a new crisis during which the Greek Cypriots will leave the table and the UN will not approve. If works start today, Varosha could open only within 5-7 years. The Cyprus problem will be solved much earlier, but doing work for Varosha until then is important”.

Responding to a question on how she plans on building a balance between the confidence building measures and the solution, Siber said that they will implement confidence building measures such as the cooperation between institutions in the field of health, contagious diseases, the environment, the GSM issue, vehicle insurances and so on.

Halkin Sesi

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