The presidency is an important position for overcoming the “frozen uncertainty” in Cyprus and “the deadlocked problem can be solved with more creative and new ideas,” according to a top Turkish Cypriot politician.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency in London, Kudret Ozersay, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), said the international conjuncture has become more suitable to discuss new ideas outside preconceptions and even the Greek Cypriot leadership has now started questioning alternative ideas behind closed doors.
Ozersay, who is running for the presidency, underlined the “significance of the presidency” as the reason for his candidacy and said the presidency is an internationally accepted rank for Turkish Cypriots.
“I have become a candidate as I believe that I can make Turkish Cypriots’ voice heard in the international arena in the best way possible and I can take them out of this uncertainty,” he said.
“I have not become a candidate to continue a conventional and unfruitful negotiation process,” Ozersay said.
He said the TRNC does not need a president who only “attends the negotiations” but one who would “represent the Turkish Cypriot people in the best way possible in all international platforms.”
Ozersay said the Greek Cypriot community and politicians do not have the will to share governance and wealth with the Turkish community in Cyprus.
“This is an important absence. It is impossible to form and continue a federal partnership in a medium where this [will] is lacking. We live in a medium where the sides have distrust against each other… [Trust] is a must-have condition for a federation.”
Ozersay said a federal culture is also needed for a federal solution.
“We in fact had a federal experience. This was our experience in the Republic of Cyprus between 1960 and 1963, but this is a bitter experience.”
Ozersay said if the international society does not use its causes and leverage it holds, “then we need to discuss a partnership based on cooperation instead of a federal partnership.”
Drawing a parallel between the partnership he is proposing with the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) following World War II, Ozersay said the two sides in Cyprus could also go for cooperation in various fields.
Also speaking about the gas drilling around the island, Ozersay said pressure on Greek Cypriots to use Mediterranean natural gas in an agreement with Turkish Cypriots may pave the way for a solution.
Ozersay also said Brexit may help the TRNC restart trade with the U.K.
He said Turkish Cypriots were able to export their products to the U.K. between 1974 and 1994, but this trade stopped with a decision from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 1994.
Ozersay added that as the U.K. is leaving the European Union and the decisions of the ECJ will no longer be binding for the U.K., trade with this country could restart.
He said this issue was discussed at a meeting with the British parliament’s TRNC Friendship Group with the attendance of some officials from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Reporting by Tayful Salci in London
Writing by Ahmet Gurhan Kartal in London