New Cyprus negotiations under UN parameters could only begin when Greek Cypriots change their mentality and are willing to share power with their counterparts in the north of the island, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
In an interview with Kathimerini published on Sunday, Cavusoglu also said that Block 6 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was within Turkey’s continental shelf.
He criticised the Greek Cypriot side for what he called its unilateral activities on hydrocarbon exploration. “Turkish Cypriots, as co-owners of Cyprus, have an inalienable right to the natural resources of the island,” he was quoted as saying. Greek Cypriots were proceeding without discussion with or briefing of the Turkish Cypriots, he added.
“Both Turkish Cypriots and Turkey have repeatedly pointed out that unilateral exploration and exploitation activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are not legitimate as there is no just, viable solution to the Cyprus problem,” Cavusoglu said.
He argued that part of one of the areas delineated by the Republic of Cyprus, Block 6, was partly within the Turkish continental shelf. “Needless to say, we will never allow arbitrary exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on our continental shelf,” he added.
On the reports that Cyprus and Greece would delineate maritime borders, Cavusoglu said such a position was contrary to international law.
“In this part of the Mediterranean, the delimitation of the maritime zones must be settled with an agreement between all the states in the region, based on the principle of equality and in alignment with international law,” he said. Turkey is not a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
On the Cyprus negotiations, Cavusoglu said they failed because the Greek Cypriot side was not willing to share power. “They still believe they can absorb them [Turkish Cypriots] into the existing administration instead of establishing a genuine new partnership based on political equality,” he said. Turkish Cypriots would not accept being restricted to the status of a single minority.
New negotiations under UN parameters could begin “only if Greek Cypriots change their mentality”. “We still believe that only a compromise resulting from negotiations can be sustainable. The question is what form this compromise will take and what will be the new goal. This is something that we all have to agree on. And only then can the new negotiations begin, ” said Cavusoglu.
The two sides were currently in a period of reflection and there would be a clearer picture after Sunday’s elections in the south of the island, he concluded. said.