Turkish Cypriot negotiator warns of uncertainty in talks

Kudret Ozersay said: “Our counterpart is unwilling to accept fully the convergences that were agreed, (and) they want to change some of these convergences that were (agreed) before.”

Turkish Cypriot negotiator warns of uncertainty in talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

One of the main Turkish Cypriot negotiators in the Cyprus peace talks, Kudret Ozersay, has warned that the discovery of natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean Levant sea basin could prove to be more of an obstacle to peace than a catalyst.

Ozersay, who was in Paris to meet with the Director of the European Union Division, Pierre Levy, and Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyianis at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the next phase of talks carried with it much uncertainty.

“We are against the idea of talks just for talks. We don’t want to be the prisoners of that. We don’t know what will be the next stage, there isn’t a roadmap that we have agreed on,” Ozersay was reported to have said by Cyprus Mail on Wednesday.

Ozersay also warned that the unfair treatment of the Turkish Cypriots in comparison to the Greek Cypriots could veer the talks off-track.

“The fact that one community – one of the co-owners – is treated as if they were eligible to do whatever they want about hydrocarbons without getting the consent of the other, it cannot help the Cyprus problem, on the contrary it could be a kind of obstacle,” Ozersay said.

“Our counterpart is unwilling to accept fully the convergences that were agreed, (and) they want to change some of these convergences that were (agreed) before,” he added without giving details except that the two sides have failed to decide on the fate of the Maras (Varosha) district of Magusa (Famagusta).

The United Nations, the European Union and Turkey have been pushing the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots achieve a sustainable solution to Cyprus dispute which has divided the island for four decades since talks resumed in February following a two-year pause.

The U.S. also jumped on the bandwagon after U.S. vice-president Joe Biden became the first senior U.S. official to visit the island in over fifty years last week.

With the current crisis in Ukraine threatening Europe's gas supply from Russia due to a political disagreement between the two powers, agreements over the natural gas reserves in the Levant have become evermore important as an alternative source for Europe.

However, the delivery of this gas would depend largely on pipelines being placed through Turkey, so Turkey is pushing for a viable solution that will not leave Turkish Cypriots excluded from revenues derived from the reserves.

The Turkish army has been protecting Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island since exercizing its right as a constitutional guarantor in 1974 when Greek Cypriot extremist group EOKA conducted a coup on the Cypriot government in a bid to unite the island with Greece.

Nine years later, after Cyprus failed to return to its 1960 constitution, Turkish Cypriots declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which to this day is only recognized by Turkey.

Last Mod: 29 Mayıs 2014, 17:09
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