World Bulletin/News Desk
The Greek side has always found an excuse to leave the negotiation table, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Dervis Eroglu, has said Thursday.
"We cannot force anybody to sit at the table. The decision to return belongs to them only," Eroglu said.
The Greek Cypriot administration suspended the talks over the divided island on October 7 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor a Greek Cypriot oil and gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot government have strongly opposed any unilateral move by the Greek Cypriot administration to explore any hydrocarbon resources around the island, saying that its natural resources should be exploited in a fair manner under a united Cyprus.
Eroglu said that the Greek side left the negotiation table "as if it were the first time Turkish vessels sailed the Mediterranean or Turkey's seismic vessels surveyed for the first time in the Cyprus waters".
Turkish Cypriots have rights on the Mediterranean and the island just like the Greek Cypriots, the TRNC leader said, adding that the Turkish Cypriot government has given Turkey the authority to do seismic surveys in the Mediterranean on behalf of them.
"When you leave the table, you remove the possibility to negotiate," he said, adding that the negotiations began back in 1968 and no conclusion has been reached yet due to the fact that the Greek Cypriots "have been running from the negotiation table at every opportunity only to return a month, or in some cases four years later".
Eroglu went on to say that the Greek side attempted to turn the world against Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots "through lies that the element of threat remained because Turks surveyed in 'their' waters".
"As far as I know, they have not managed to reach their goal. If they want to resume negotiations, then they just need to go back to the table in the same manner as they left," he said.
The Turkish Cypriot leader had sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week calling for the re-launch of negotiations with the Greek Cyprus administration to reach "a fair, sustainable and negotiated solution."
The negotiations between the two sides had resumed last February after a two-year pause. The previous round of talks had collapsed because of the Eurozone debt crisis and the Greek Cypriot side's turn to occupy the EU presidency in 2012.
The island of Cyprus has remained divided into Greek and Turkish zones since a Greek-Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid the Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.
The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the EU. It is internationally recognized except by Turkey, which remains the only country that recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Last Mod: 23 Ekim 2014, 15:37