Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun has said that the Turkish Cypriots could never negotiate Turkey’s “active and effective guarantees” in Cyprus. Speaking on a Turkish state-run TRT broadcast, Ozgurgun described Turkey’s guarantees as their “broadest red line”.
Asserting that the Turkish Cypriot side has, many times, demonstrated its will for an agreement in Cyprus, Ozgurgun said that the Greek Cypriot side has always said “no” to the agreements, which the Turkish Cypriot side have approached positively.
Referring to the guarantees, he said:
“The Turkish Cypriot people can never abandon motherland Turkey’s active and effective guarantees. The public opinion polls show that support for this is around 90%. The Greek Cypriot side should know this. […] My government and I […] will definitely not permit Turkey’s guarantees to be discussed. We will not give concessions from Turkey’s active and effective guarantees, we will not permit its discussion. This is our broadest red line which should be emphasised, because the issue of security requires much more focus in today’s world. […]”
Ozgurgun further added that bi-zonality should clearly be preserved and the fact that the Turkish Cypriot people are equal to the Greek Cypriots should not be forgotten. “If the Greek Cypriot side accepts this, the solution will be found immediately”, he said and noted that the Greek Cypriot side does not accept this. “Let us see things from the opposite side. If we accept what the Greek Cypriot side wants, a solution would immediately be found”, he argued.
Replying to a question regarding the tripartite meeting in New York, Ozgurgun said that he did not see much in the way of agreement and that the negotiations will continue from the point at which they were left. He argued that when elections take place on either side of Cyprus, problems they cause problems in the negotiations. Reminding about the forthcoming 2018 presidential elections in the south, Ozgurgun said that entering into the pre-election climate would prolong the negotiations.
He added that the Greek Cypriots “have the attitude” that they are the internationally recognised state which is an EU member, that the Turkish Cypriots are a minority and that they are negotiating with the Turkish Cypriots only to give them minority rights. This attitude demonstrates that the Greek Cypriots think that the offshore natural gas and everything else belongs to them and say that “We cannot discuss it with the minorities”. He wondered, “What are you going to agree with this attitude”, arguing that the natural gas belongs to both communities. He concluded by saying: “They [the Greek Cypriots] have tried to turn this issue into a fait accompli. If such a thing happens, the necessary measures will be taken. We should not allow the rights of the Turkish Cypriots to be usurped”.