Ozersay: “Unofficial dialogue between the sides has started”    

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No. 193/18

Ozersay: “Unofficial dialogue between the sides has started”    

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Düzen newspaper(07-08.10.18) writes that Kurdet Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that an unofficial dialogue has started between the sides on the Cyprus problem. In an interview published in the paper yesterday and today, Ozersay claimed that the Turkish Cypriots should not panic because no direct contact between them and Greece could take place and added that they should act “constructively and quickly”.

“What we need is not to watch being sad and worried, but to take the right step at the right time”, he argued claiming that they will not remain outside the process as long as they act in this manner. He added the following: “In my view, the process of an unofficial dialogue has started and it is continuing right now. It seems that this unofficial process, in which not only the guarantors but we have also participated in New York, will continue”.

Asked whether unofficial contacts between the two community leaders should be expected, Ozersay replied: “There was a telephone conversation in New York. I think that this dialogue is needed from the point of view of the sincere examination, even though nothing will be done in relation to this. In any case, the above-mentioned contacts will take place in relation to the opening of the gates”.

Asked to comment on the fact that Turkish officials met with him but not with Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci in New York, Ozersay recalled that both President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu had many times visited the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and met with Akinci prior to crucial stages of the Cyprus talks. He argued that dealing with such things harms the Turkish Cypriot side’s unity and weakens them and added that he had briefed Akinci regarding his contacts with the Turkish officials in New York.

Referring to the demand regarding the removal of the UN Peace Keeping Force’s (UNFICYP) camp from occupied Famagusta, Ozersay said that before they submitted this demand, they had launched initiatives for removing some camps of the Turkish occupation army and the so-called security forces from some cities, because if some military units remained within cities due to the expansion of the inhabited areas and the above-mentioned places are not important from the point of view of military strategy, “the approach which should be exhibited in the 21st century is their relocation elsewhere”. “I believe that important developments will take place during the forthcoming period regarding other military areas as well”, he said arguing that these military areas should open for public use. 

Ozersay noted that after he became “minister” he took some steps for the removal of the UNFICYP’s camp from occupied Famagusta and submitted an official demand in New York explaining the reasons for which they ask this. “If the reply from the UN is negative, the issue will not close there”, he argued and alleged: “I am saying this without hesitating, because the place is not a buffer zone, but it is a camp in the country of the TRNC and we are not obliged to give them that place”.

Asked to comment on a recent statement he had made regarding a possible confederal solution in Cyprus, he said that he had been asked to express his views on the issue of federation, confederation and two states and added that he was not the one who used these terms. “The issue is not how you will name the solution which will be found”, he argued adding that the important thing is the political equality and the decision making mechanism in a possible partnership. “[…] Federation is a model which is based on sharing and needs a culture of sharing. There is an experience of federal partnership in our political history, but it failed. […] I am not saying it because I like it, it is a reality. […] I have not brought confederation or anything else onto the agenda. I said let us talk without putting names and stick on the meanings. […]”

Replying to a question regarding the opening of the crossing point in Deryneia and the removal of the Turkish army from the area, Ozersay alleged that excuses started from the Greek Cypriot side when the opening of the crossing point came closer and that this coincided with the opposition expressed by some Greek Cypriots to the opening of the barricade. He claimed that no agreement had been achieved for the removal of the Turkish military cabin from the area and added that he visited the area to examine the issue on the spot, because they want to open this crossing point. He alleged: “At the crossing point, there is an observation point on the second floor of the building. The building is empty. It is not a military installation. We are considering of using this building as an office for the customs, for the police. During the on the spot examination that we conducted, we saw that at the same distance with the crossing point in the Greek Cypriot side and in the same manner there is a building, which is a camouflaged military building on which more armed soldiers and an observation point exist. We shared this with the UN and explained the situation. We went and showed them on the spot. We told them with all our good will that if there is a worry we will take it into consideration. […]”