President Ersin Tatar addresses the 14th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO)

President Ersin Tatar has called upon Islamic brotherly states to show “determination” to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people.

The President made the call during a virtual meeting of the 14th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), which was hosted by Turkish President, HE Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Thursday.    The theme of the Summit was 'Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of COVID-19'.

Beginning his address by extending the “heartfelt greetings of the Turkish Cypriot people,” President Tatar thanked President Erdoğan for “hosting this important summit, which has brought us together even if virtually, during this difficult time where the whole world is still struggling with covid-19 pandemic”.

President Tatar also expressed gratitude to HE Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, the secretary-general of ECO and his able staff for making the international organisation a success ever since its establishment.   

In his address, in reference to the Cyprus issue, President Tatar said  that the Turkish Cypriot side will participate in goodwill at the five-plus-UN informal meeting that is to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 27 to 29.  Explaining the “new vision” following his election last October, President Tatar added that “the position of the Turkish Cypriot side, which is acting in full harmony with Turkey – our motherland, guarantor and the most powerful country in the region, is that negotiations for a federal settlement has been exhausted due to the intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side for more than half a century and their refusal to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots”.

President Tatar stated: “The Turkish Cypriot side will put forward new proposals, which is based on a cooperative relationship between the two sides that would, at the outset, be acknowledged and based on the inherent sovereign equality and equal international status of the two sides,” reiterating “it is an undisputable fact that there are two fully fledged states on the island”.

“The Turkish Cypriot side will put forward a creative and constructive approach in the search for a freely negotiated and mutually acceptable settlement in Cyprus. His Excellency, Mr Antonio Guterres, has repeatedly underlined that ‘this time must be different’. It is our considered view that this time can only be different if we learn from the previous mistakes and do not trap ourselves in the same formula that has repeatedly proven to be a recipe for failure for over 50 years,” the President said.

In reference to the Covid-19 “global crisis,” President Tatar said the pandemic “has not only adversely affected the health systems of our countries, but also caused severe damages to socio-economic structures. I hope and believe that, we will be able to overcome this difficult period through solidarity. Undoubtedly, Economic Cooperation Organisation will have a significant role as an important regional player to this end.”

President Tatar thanked the Republic of Turkey for its “solidarity and support” in transporting thousands of vaccine dosages and medical equipment as well as funding the construction of a pandemic hospital in a space of two months, which has helped Turkish Cypriots in their fight against the outbreak, and the “unwavering support” by Turkey ranging from political, economic, construction and infrastructure fields.

As regards the isolation of Turkish Cypriot people, President Tatar said: “The unjust and painful isolation, inflicted on the every aspect of the daily lives of the Turkish Cypriot people coupled with the magnitude of the pandemic, is more severe than ever.  I strongly call on the brotherly member states of ECO to show determination to put an end to the isolations and lend their helping hand to their brothers and sisters in the TRNC at a time when solidarity is most needed.”

President Tatar said that Turkish Cypriot people “share a common history and culture” with the ECO member states and is “fully committed to the objectives of the ECO and the ECO vision of 2025 in particular.”

“The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus recognises that historical and cultural affinities among the ECO states are important elements in enhancing our cooperation that will lead to further economic integration,” Mr Tatar said.

Referring to the economic locomotive sectors of the country, President Tatar said that the “TRNC has a vast experience and expertise in the tourism sector which is one of the prioritised areas of cooperation in the ECO through which our country has a great deal to offer, ranging from drafting a tourism strategy to health tourism, as well as educating the personnel in the tourism sector”.

President Tatar said they are “ready to work with the ECO secretariat as well as with each and every member state on a road map developing our cooperation on this specific area and other areas of mutual interest,”

The President said that the TRNC had previously co-hosted ECO events in the country, and reiterated his desire to “co-host the Fourth Experts Group Meeting on Ecotourism”.