“Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (31.05.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has noted that it could be said that the chapter of economy in the ongoing Cyprus talks reached the stage of settlement and that a lot of progress is reached on the issue of internal security, which is one of the chapters that could be closed. In statements yesterday during a meeting with a delegation from the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Eroglu said that the Turkish Cypriot side did not receive a positive answer to its views on the issue of turning the agreement to be reached into primary law of the EU.

In his statements during the meeting, Gunay Cerkez, chairman of the Chamber, said they wanted to be informed first hand on the Cyprus talks, because of President Christofias’ statements that agreement was reached on the economy chapter and that progress was achieved on the EU chapter. He noted that they want to work in coordination with Eroglu as an organization which was authorized on the issue of the Green Line Regulation.

Referring to the negotiation process, Eroglu noted that it is not possible to say that the sides reached an agreement on issues such as the governance and power sharing, the territory and security. He said that not much progress was achieved on these issues during the period when former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was carrying out the negotiations as well. Eroglu argued that the issues of territory and guarantees were not discussed at all in the past and that the issue of property was discussed only for a while and afterwards discussions on the governance and power sharing started again.

Eroglu added: “We discussed the property for a rather long period of time. I believe that we clearly and openly showed both to Mr Christofias and the UN that we are at the point of settling this issue with a compromise. However, at the point we are today it is not possible for me to say that there will be an agreement tomorrow. It seems that we are far away again [from achieving an agreement]”.

Eroglu alleged that President Christofias commits a mistake when he accuses Turkey for the situation in the Cyprus talks, because the interlocutor of the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiating table is himself, not Turkey. Eroglu described as “not pleasant behaviour” the statement reportedly made by President Christofias that “Turkey should forget the EU as long as it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus”.

Recalling that from time to time reference is made to a “bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on political equality”, Eroglu argued that the important thing is to fill in the content of these words. “I know how the Greek Cypriot side wants to fill in the content of this and I am sure that those who say these things also know this”, he noted and added: “While carrying out the negotiations on behalf of the TRNC, we primarily search for a lasting agreement. We do not think ‘let us sign today the agreement and let it break down tomorrow’ or ‘let it be rejected at the referendum’. Therefore, we search for an agreement which our people will adopt and approve”.

Eroglu alleged that while he does not make many statements on the negotiation process, President Christofias accuses the Turkish side of being intransigent, whenever he travels abroad or accept an Ambassador. He argued that President Christofias’ aim with these statements is to be one step forward, but he is always hesitant in taking the necessary steps for reaching an agreement.

Referring to those who accuse him of not making any openings, Eroglu said that making an opening is tantamount to entering into a give and take process. He accused the Greek Cypriot side of only thinking what it could take.

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