Statement by Presidential Spokesperson Barış Burcu

As is known, the Greek Cypriot Leader rejected the proposal on hydrocarbons made by President Mustafa Akıncı that aimed at de-escalating the heightened tension arisen from the insistence of the Greek Cypriot Administration to unilaterally pursue hydrocarbon activities, excluding the Turkish Cypriot side.

The Greek Cypriot Leader has recently conveyed a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to explain for his rejection which he had previously put forward on this issue. A copy of this letter was communicated to us yesterday evening via the UN officials. In his letter, the Greek Cypriot Leader rejects the proposal of President Akıncı to set up a joint committee on the grounds that he has already accepted the rights of the Turkish Cypriots on hydrocarbons and on their joint management as he had agreed that following a settlement, hydrocarbons would be a federal competence and would be managed jointly. The Greek Cypriot Leader further claimed that the said proposal is in stark contrast to this convergence. 
It is a known fact that a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem is yet to be found and there is neither a federal structure nor a common federal government in place. Therefore, there is no central administration to jointly manage hydrocarbons and other natural resources. Until a comprehensive settlement, the Greek Cypriot Administration does not have the authority to unilaterally possess the wealth off the coast of the island, where we also have rights.
Another fallacy in Mr. Anastasiades’ letter is the claim that the decision of the “hydrocarbon fund” enacted by his parliament would protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. This claim of the Greek Cypriot Leader is not convincing at all. We wish to emphasize that Turkish Cypriots must have a say in all stages and processes in relation to the hydrocarbon activities. If a fund is to be established, it is therefore necessary to jointly take up and agree on it, as is the case for all other issues. Hence, President Akıncı’s proposal already envisaged the establishment of a joint fund.
The decisions taken and the funds established unilaterally by the Greek Cypriot Administration can in no way constitute a safeguard for Turkish Cypriots, as our rights cannot be left at the sole mercy of the Greek Cypriot Administration.
During their informal meeting with the Greek Cypriot Leader on 9 August, President Akıncı would like to take up this issue, as well as the others, in a sincere and constructive manner.
It is the responsibility of all to eliminate the tension as a matter of priority in order to pave the way to the developments that will benefit all sides in Cyprus. As the Turkish Cypriot side, we have always acted in full cognizance of this responsibility and will continue to do so.

Presidential Spokesperson