The problem with the negotiations process in general is not the UN parameters but “the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality”, President Mustafa Akinci has said.
In an interview with Turkish Haberturk, Akinci commented on the tensions arising from the hydrocarbons issue in the Eastern Mediterranean. Addressing the Greek Cypriot side, he said that “if you are drilling and you are not listening, then I too will drill”.
Akinci repeated his view that the most practical, the fastest and the cheapest way to transport any natural gas discovered offshore Cyprus to Europe was via Turkey and through Greece. He argued:
“Let us contribute to building peace and stability in the region through economic interdependence by solving the Cyprus problem and by creating the most logical energy route. I am saying what must be done but in practice what is being done is just the opposite. If that is the situation and you are drilling, you are not listening then I too will drill for natural gas”.
Akinci said that he hoped that Turkey’s own drilling activities would encourage the other side to work for a solution. He added that the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to share power and wealth with the Turkish Cypriots had also been demonstrated on the issue of hydrocarbon reserves.
Referring to the difference of strategy that existed between him and the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Akinci said that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu argued that a settlement on the basis of UN parameters would not be possible. “The problem, however, is not the UN parameters but the Greek Cypriot administration”, he said.
Asked about a military presence and guarantees for the island, Akinci replied he was against the idea of zero troops and zero guarantees in Cyprus. He accused President Anastasiades of trying to “water down” the issue.
Answering another question, Akinci responded: “We have our own state. Whatever kind of a settlement we reach in the future, we want our state to become one of the two equal founding states in this land.”