Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu touched upon the Cyprus issue and the hydrocarbon activities during an interview he gave to the Kathimerini Newspaper.
“In the past we have held intensive negotiations. They were all about a federation. Unfortunately none of them have led us to success. Crans Montana was the latest setback. After this failure there is a need to consider alternatives” Çavuşoğlu said.
“In any case, various proposals came forward. From the beginning of this discussion we have stated: Yes, the various options really need to be considered. However, we are not going to impose one of these different proposals. And at the same time we do not reject any of these options” he added.
“Let us first clarify what we will negotiate at the informal quintet summit and then complete the content of the terms of reference” Çavuşoğlu said
Blaming Anastasiades for the failure of the negotiations, the Turkish Foreign Minister said “Anastasiades backtracked from convergences that had been achieved on the island and in Switzerland. That is, he does not believe in political equality. There is a perception that he does not want to share anything with the Turkish Cypriot people. That is why we insist and say that this time we need to clarify from the outset what we are going to discuss.”
“First he said yes to the rotating presidency. Then he rejected it. Today, Anastasiades says he does not accept political equality. This is how we view his latest statements. If we go through another negotiating process with this mentality today, we will lose another fifty years and have no result” he added.
Stating that the Turkish Cypriot people supported the continuation of the guarantee system, Çavuşoğlu said “in the case of hydrocarbons, if there were no Turkish guarantees, the Greek Cypriot side would never grant the Turkish Cypriot side its rightful share. That is our view. Unfortunately, despite our repeated warnings, no steps have been taken towards the direction of allocating resources. Today, we come across vague proposals that are not serious. In any case, if Turkish guarantees were not there, the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people would have been violated. That is why, in my view, there is a need for guarantees today more than ever.”
Stating that Anastasiades’ new proposal on natural gas could not be accepted, the Turkish Foreign Minister stressed that Turkey will continue its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Under no circumstances will we allow work on our continental shelf to be called into question. At the same time, we will continue our operations in the blocks authorized by the TRNC until a mutual solution to the issue is found” Çavuşoğlu stressed.
“The proposal of the Turkish side regarding the sharing of the hydrocarbon incomes received the support of foreign observers and is still on the table” he added.