Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Friday said he agreed with EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s position that only through dialogue could solutions be found on issues concerning the Mediterranean.
He was commenting on Borrell’s statements on Thursday at the European Parliament plenary session on ‘Stability and Security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey’ where he made a call for the reversal of the current negative trend in EU-Turkey relations and stressed the need for dialogue to solve problems.
Akinci on Friday said Borrell’s remarks on the need for dialogue were timely and correct and echoed his own during a telephone conversation he had with the EU top diplomat last week.
He noted Borrell’s reference to Turkey’s importance in the region and expressed his own readiness “for any kind of cooperation with Mr Borrell, under the UN and under the auspices of the EU, either on the gas issue or on the Cyprus issue.”
Akinci pointed out that he has been declaring for a long time that the energy balance in the eastern Mediterranean could not be found if Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots were excluded. “We have been emphasising for years that the sides will each take their own path if there is no dialogue and reconciliation, which will lead to tensions,” he said.
He referred to his proposal, submitted to President Nicos Anastasiades last year July on setting up a joint committee for cooperation on hydrocarbons between the two sides.
He said his proposal is in the direction of dialogue and finding an agreement. “Mr Borrell now knows about these issues,” he said, adding that after the constructive telephone communication he had with him, a dialogue between Akinci’s team and EU official’s team has begun.
“The way to stay away from tensions, confrontations and conflicts that will hurt everyone is to show the will to dialogue and solve problems,” he said. He added that the Turkish Cypriot side has proved this in every situation.
Akinci expressed hope that Borrell’s stance as regards Turkey’s importance in the region as opposed to the perception on Ankara’s exclusion would bring positive results.
Borrell said on Thursday that despite the discrepancies regarding Turkey’s action in Syria and the worrying assertiveness, it is an important partner, a candidate country and a NATO ally and the EU needed to also acknowledge where its own interests coincide.
He also said that on all issues, the EU has sent clear messages to Turkey and Brussels was determined to protect principles and values, external borders, and the sovereign rights of member states but dynamics of retaliation do not make the Mediterranean a more secure and stable zone. This will only be achieved through dialogue and negotiations where discrepancies exist, he said.