Home Page >> North Cyprus 21 January 2020, Tuesday 16:16

'Turkish Cypriots can benefit from the resources without a solution if the Greek Cypriots can': Deputy PM Özersay

'Turkish Cypriots can benefit from the resources without a solution if the Greek Cypriots can': Deputy PM Özersay

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay has said that Turkish Cypriots are on the path to becoming leading actors in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay has said that Turkish Cypriots are on the path to becoming leading actors in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He also said that the natural gas potential in the Eastern Mediterranean was an important opportunity for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot people as well as infrastructural investments.

Speaking on a TV interview, Minister Özersay said that the policies being carried out by the TRNC were shaping Turkish foreign policy on the Cyprus Issue.

“It’s been claimed that the drilling being carried out in the south of the island belongs to Turkey. This is not true. Turkish Petroleum (TPOA) is carrying out these drilling operations in areas licensed by the TRNC. TPAO would not be conducting drilling activities in those areas if the TRNC had not issued those licenses. Turkey is conducting drilling for itself to the West of the island which falls within its own continental shelf,” he said.

Özersay recalled that the Turkish Cypriot side had remained a bystander until 2011, watching the Greek Cypriot side sign deals with other countries and grant international firms licenses.

“We developed a policy after 2011 and took action in the field. As a result we have balanced the playing field. We are now defending our rights not only on paper but in the field as well. Since the TRNC and Turkish Cypriot people have rights over these resources we shall get what is rightfully ours one way or the other. We are a country with limited resources which is why this issue is so important,” he said.

Özersay also said that revenues from natural gas could be used for the Turkish Cypriot economy in terms of meeting infrastructural needs.

He added that these resources will be vital for the Turkish Cypriot economy 10-20 years from now.

“If we have such needs why should we not protect our rights?” asked Özersay.

Turkish Cypriots had balanced the playing field with Greek Cypriots as a result of the policies they have been fighting for and defending for years.

“We need to cooperate on the issue of natural gas before a solution is reached,” Özersay said, reminding that the international community acknowledged that both sides had rights over the island’s natural resources.

He pointed out that Turkish Cypriots were only seeking their own rights and that the Turkish Cypriot side had never pursued a policy to prevent Greek Cypriots from carrying out drilling or to use force.

“Nevertheless we have not allowed anyone to usurp our rights,” he added.

Özersay said that it was not fair to expect Turkish Cypriots to wait for a solution before reaping the benefits of natural gas while Greek Cypriots are allowed to go ahead with their own plans.

“Turkish Cypriots can benefit from these resources without a solution if the Greek Cypriots can,” he said, adding that the natural gas issue was not only strategic for Cyprus.

Foreign Minister Özersay also argued that hydrocarbons could be used as a means to solve current problems being experienced in the region.

“We cannot achieve anything by sitting around and waiting. Things will develop against our interests as it did with the EU. The leader of the Turkish Cypriot state needs to pursue a more proactive policy,” he said.

He noted that cooperation on natural gas could bring the two sides closer to a solution but added that such a move required leadership.

source:BRTK


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