Ceremony marks ninth anniversary of the passing of TRNC Founding President Rauf Denktaş
The ninth anniversary of the passing of the TRNC Founding President, Rauf Raif Denktaş, was commemorated in a ceremony where President Ersin Tatar delivered a speech stating that he shared the same values of seeking an agreement in Cyprus that was based on ‘sovereignty’ and a ‘two State model’ – which he said was afforded great importance by Mr Denktaş.
The ceremony was held for the first time at the Mausoleum of Mr Denktaş in Lefkoşa on Wednesday.
President Tatar paid tribute to Mr Denktaş with the “deepest of love, respect and indebtedness”.
He said Mr Denktaş had begun the struggle to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people at a very young age and that he had involved himself in the Halkın Sesi newspaper together with Turkish Cypriot leader, Dr Fazıl Küçük and his friends. He said they were “instrumental in establishing effective links with motherland Turkey” and “raising awareness there of the plight of the distanced Turkish Cypriot people and their struggle to survive on the island”.
“R.R. DENKTAS PLAYED A VERY IMPORTANT PART IN TURKEY GAINING THE GUARANTOR RIGHT”
“Mr Denktaş played a very important role in the negotiations that led to the London-Zurich treaties that made Turkish Cypriot people equal cofounders of the Republic of Cyprus,” President Tatar said.
He said the founding president had played a “pivotal role” in “placing the active and effective guarantees of Turkey into the Guarantee and Alliance treaties,” which he said “was detrimental in protecting the Turkish Cypriot people later on. We are very grateful to him,” he said.
President Tatar said that it was the Treaty of Guarantee which Turkey relied upon when Turkish military jets had been dispatched to Cyprus in the wake of the attacks initiated by the Greek Cypriot side against the Turkish Cypriots in 1963.
“And in 1974, Turkish troops were able to set foot on the island because of the rights enshrined in the Treaty of Guarantee by Turkey, which is a guarantor state. It was Rauf Raif Denktaş’s effective role that incorporated the articles that gave these rights in the treaty. Consequently, in order for it to be recorded in our history, I am acknowledging this yet again, on this ninth anniversary of his death,” President Tatar said.
SOVEREIGN EQUALITY OF TWO STATES CO-EXISTING SIDE BY SIDE IN COOPERATION
President Tatar said he was a continuing “student” of the founding president which went back to his childhood days – which emanated from the “good advice and inspiration given to me by my father”.
He continued: “I grew up with the statements of Mr Denktaş, and as the elected President, I want to make him [Mr Denktaş] the following promise: That in unison with Turkey and with the help of our people, we will continue to exclaim to the world – including the UN, EU, and the international community, that an agreement based on a federation has been buried in history, because we were never involved in negotiations based on good will.”
Referring to the failure to reach an agreement in Crans Montana in 2017, President Tatar said that “it has become apparent that a just and sustainable agreement in Cyprus can only be achieved on a basis of sovereign equality, with the existence of two States that coexist side by side which are in cooperation.”
“THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS WAS A TURNING POINT AS EVIDENCE OF OUR EQUALITY”
President Tatar, referring to the newly published book of Special Representative, Ergün M. Olgun – who served as political adviser and undersecretary to Mr Denktaş from 1993 to 2005, said Mr Denktaş had a ‘brave heart’ at the negotiations, and “put forward a struggle to defend the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Explaining the previous processes after 1974 and the objections of the Greek Cypriot side of any settlement that was based on the cofounding equal status of the Turkish Cypriots, President Tatar said that a “historical step” was taken by Mr Denktaş “for our equality to be proven to the international community,” adding: “And on November 15, 1983, with the full consent of his people, Mr Denktaş himself as our founding President, proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.
The President also stated that Founding President Denktaş also led the resistance against the injustices being done by the Greek side to the Turkish Cypriot people since 1983, and the relentless policies they are imposing “as if the whole of Cyprus belongs to the Greek Cypriots whilst imposing embargoes and isolations on the Turkish Cypriots”.
“HE BID FAREWELL TELLING US IN HIS LAST BREATH TO EMBRACE SOVEREIGNTY, STATE AND TURKEY”
President Tatar recounted that in one of his conversations with Mr Denktaş, he had told him that just before the peace operation on July 20, 1974, he had an enlightening dream of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of the Republic of Turkey -- who said to him: ‘Mr Denktaş, the conjuncture has changed’. Mr Denktaş was awoken in the early hours next morning with a telephone call from Asaf İlhan – the Turkish Ambassador to Lefkoşa -- who told him “congratulations, I have good news for you, the Turkish army is on route to the island.”
President Tatar said that Mr Denktaş had described this as a “momentous and emotional part” of his life.
“Mr Denktaş wanted to be known as the man who once again brought the Turkish army to Cyprus,” President Tatar added. “And moments before passing away, in his last breaths, he uttered the words: ‘Embrace our sovereignty, our State and Turkey.’”