Historical opportunity shouldn’t be missed, Turkish Cypriot negotiator says

Historical opportunity shouldn’t be missed, Turkish Cypriot negotiator says

ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Historical opportunity shouldn’t be missed, Turkish Cypriot negotiator says

Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis had talks with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu. AA Photo

The historical opportunity which has occurred with the recent reunification on Cyprus talks should not be missed, according to Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Özersay, who visited the Greek Foreign Ministry’s secretary-general in Athens last week.

“There is a natural calendar for these talks, and this calendar gives us the opportunity to turn this psychologically positive atmosphere into a solid solution. We shouldn’t miss this opportunity,” Özersay told daily Hürriyet in a recent interview.

“We believe we can finish this problem by following a policy of ‘give and take’ as much as possible. The most important thing to do now is put a political will and leadership forward. [We should also] try to find a middle way for the solution by knowing that we cannot take 100 percent of what we want,” he said. 

The negotiators from each side of Cyprus, Andreas Mavroyiannis for the Greek Cypriot side and Özersay for Turkish Cypriots, made simultaneous visits to Ankara and Athens last week, respectively, for the first time in 55 years since the Cyprus talks started.

But the recent resignation of Greek Cyprus’ Cabinet is expected to have a negative impact on the ongoing negotiations, and Özersay said the political instabilities and crisis in the region presented the risk that both sides would fail to achieve a comprehensive solution.   

Özersay said the meeting in Athens lasted five hours, noting that this was positive beyond expectations. “We talked about all aspects of the Cyprus problem, so we are glad about that. One of the main issues of the talks is equality, which means the talks that were carried out by the Greek Cypriots in Ankara and the talks that we carried out in Athens were described as talks equal to each other. These talks don’t create the result for Greece to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and they don’t create the result for Turkey to recognize the Greek Cypriot state,” Özersay said.

The Turkish Cypriot negotiator said it was not possible to predict when political, social or economic instability might occur in the eastern Mediterranean region, meaning talks should be concluded as soon as possible.   

Özersay also said he talked on the phone with Mavroyiannis, noting that latter was also happy about his own talks in Ankara. “Like us, Greek Cypriots also see it as a positive step to continue this dialogue process. So if both sides want this, I expect this dialogue to continue on the base of equality,” he said.

Özersay said that if the talks continued, there would probably be a deeper discussion of the issues regarding the Cyprus problem. 

“Maybe the negotiator for Turkish Cypriots and the negotiator for the Greek Cypriots might visit the guarantor powers together if both sides agree upon this. We believe a solution that might be found would bring stability both to the island and to the region in whole,” he said.