Yakis said that only with exchange Turkey will open its ports to Cypriot vessels

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (03.07.11) publishes an interview with former Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yasar Yakis on the Cyprus problem prior to the Geneva meeting on 7 July.

Yakis, who is not optimistic that there will be a Cyprus settlement in the short term, insists on the necessity that in a solution they should achieve the maximum of benefits, stressing the importance of Cyprus for Turkey.

Commenting on the issue of Turkey opening its air and sea ports to the Cypriot vessels, Yakis said that he is against the opening of the ports without a satisfactory exchange, adding that they don’t open their ports because they cannot take any expected return for.

Yakis also said that even if Turkey opens its ports, its stance will not change, adding that it does not mean that Turkey will recognize the Greek Cypriot side. He explained that Turkey does not recognize Taiwan, but Taiwan vessels dock at Turkey’s ports, wondering why they should recognize the Republic of Cyprus even when Cypriot vessels dock at Turkey’s ports. He added that the Greek Cypriot vessels used to dock at Turkey’s ports until 1987 and Turkey did not recognize the Republic of Cyprus during that time too.

Yakis went on saying that the ports are a trump card in their hands and they do not want to use it without taking anything in exchange. He added that the reason they do not open their ports is because they prefer to give time, to gain time until they get something in return for and not because it will be an issue of recognizing the Greek Cypriot side.

Yakis said: “There is a perception that Turkey should make concession on Cyprus in order to be able to join the EU. However, this impression is slowly fading.” He also said that if EU member countries like Germany and France wanted Turkey to be an EU member, then they would have solved the Cyprus problem by twisting the arm of the Greek Cypriot side.

Referring to the Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, Yakis proposed that the price of the properties should be paid by those who inhabit the properties regardless if they are British, Turkish Cypriot or Turks from Turkey. So whoever makes the payment, he will get also the title deed of the house. Yakis also said that the technical committees should also work on this issue at the negotiations.

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