TRNC Prime Minister Ozkan Yorgancioglu, has said that “Cyprus has great natural gas potential and with the Middle East region riddled with clashes and warfare, the TRNC is better off this time around in the ongoing talks for a settlement on the island”, Turkish daily ‘Zaman’ reports.
In an interview with the paper, Yorgancioglu said that “Turkish Cyprus currently has a better advantage in the peace talks, as opposed to its situation in past negotiation processes, which all failed”.
Evaluating the Cyprus negotiations, Yorgancioglu said that President Anastasiades should prepare the Greek Cypriots for a joint solution on the island, adding: “I don’t think that they are working hard enough regarding this matter. As talks are going on for a settlement, they should also explain to their own people what a potential settlement might be like”.
He also said that the natural gas reserves off the island, coupled with conflict in nearby countries, has put the Turkish Cypriot side in a better position this time.
If the island turns up sufficient amounts of natural gas, it will most likely have to be transported through Turkey to Europe, giving both the Greek Cypriot side and the EU an important incentive to push for a comprehensive settlement on the island.
The island’s natural resources can improve the quality of life for both peoples and increase their income. “We believe that it is time that this turns into practice and not stay as an idea anymore. This is an outcome expected not only by Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but also by Turkey, Greece and EU member states,” Yorgancioglu added.
He went on that North Cyprus, whose residents voted in favour of the reunification Annan plan, was motivated by the prospects of an EU membership. Greek Cypriots voted against the plan. “We missed the train at that time,” he said. “This happened because the Greek Cypriots were admitted [into the EU] before a settlement was achieved, but now there is the natural gas option, which will improve the quality of life of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.”
The Prime Minister concluded that the two leaders should be persistent and determined to bring the peace talks to a successful completion.