President Ersin Tatar evaluates the current affairs on ‘Serbest Kürsü’  (Speaker’s Corner), aired on  Radio Vatan

President Ersin Tatar called on the public to adhere to the measures that are in place as part of the struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that the TRNC and the world is not out of the woods yet.

The President, who took part on the Serbest Kürsü  (Speaker’s Corner) programme that is aired on Radio Vatan, evaluated the latest developments in relation to the Cyprus issue and other matters including the solidarity between Turkey and the TRNC and the financial and economic cooperation protocol. 

President Tatar stated that everybody did their best to deal with the pandemic in TRNC but that the whole world is having difficulties coping with a virus which mutates and that with vaccinations he expressed the hope that this phase will be overcome in the near future. 

“I hope that following the breakthrough made with the introduction of vaccinations, this will have a positive impact in effectively fighting the spread of the virus so that we can begin to return  to normality,” President Tatar said.

President Tatar said that the aim in the TRNC is to inoculate a majority of the population by April-May with the assistance of the Republic of Turkey – which he said was providing the vaccine dosages. He said negotiations are continuing with the EU for the acquisition of the Turkish Cypriots’ rightful share of vaccine dosages.   

Making a call to the public to comply with the measures set-up to combat Covid-19, President Tatar underlined the importance of the observance of social distancing, wearing protective masks, and practicing good hygiene.

Stating that the "quarantine requirement" became necessary due to the increase of new cases, President Tatar indicated that it could be possible to undergo quarantining at home rather than at a designated centre, with the implementation of an electronic tag system.  “The use of such technology will provide economical as well as psychological relief because many people are hesitant about undergoing a quarantine process in a centre,” President Tatar said. 

The President added that this system will also make it easier for people to come forward when they display symptoms of the virus. “People still are hesitant in contacting our health services when displaying symptoms of the virus, because they are concerned about being placed into a quarantine centre. I am hopeful that this system will come into implementation in the near future,” Mr Tatar said. 

President Tatar indicated that he regularly discusses the repercussions of the pandemic on the TRNC economy with the Prime Minister and the Contagious Diseases High Committee and other related authorities.  Stating that it is necessary to be rational when dealing with the economic difficulties created by the Pandemic, the President said that as regards loans, he believes that in accordance with the law and with the support of the government, the banks will relax the repayment schemes by enabling a restructuring of the loans. President Tatar said he trusts the TRNC Central Bank which has been issuing guidelines and which has been instrumental in the banks reviewing their interest rates, providing a lifeline in these extraordinary circumstances . This is absolutely important and is a commendable step,” he said. 

Referring to the financial cooperation protocol signed with the Republic of Turkey, President Tatar pointed out that the support of Motherland Turkey had been further increased, in order to help the TRNC in the difficulties stemming from the pandemic, and to close the state budget deficit.    Mr Tatar thanked Motherland Turkey for the contributions to the health sector and the 4.8 billion TL of support given to the TRNC, over the last two year period.     “Our health system infrastructure has been strengthened,” Mr Tatar said, adding that he believed that the economic difficulties will be overcome.

Answering a question in relation to the latest developments on the Cyprus issue,  President Tatar recalled that even though the Greek Cypriots  rejected the Annan plan in 2004 in the separate, simultaneous referenda which prevented a settlement in Cyprus, he said the Greek Cypriot side have been made an EU member and pointed out that the unjust isolation on the Turkish Cypriots are still continuing.  

The President said  that negotiations for a federation has been exhausted following the repeated failures over many years, because of the hegemonic aspiration and uncompromising stance of the Greek Cypriot side.  “Despite all the goodwill and concessions by the Turkish Cypriot side, the process for a federal solution collapsed again in Crans Montana in 2017. The position on the need to think outside the box and to put forward new ideas, and the policy that negotiations for a federal settlement has been exhausted is backed by Turkey,” President Tatar said. 

President Tatar emphasised that the Turkish Cypriot side has put forward a new vision of sovereign equality of two States that exist side-by-side in coexistence which are in a cooperative relationship. 

“This cooperation of the two equal sides is possible in many fields such as on energy sources, water, electricity, environmental projects, and indeed natural resources. This approach is based on a win-win approach, conforms to the realities of the island and will pave the way for peace and stability in the region,” President Tatar said.   

President Tatar reiterated that a federal settlement with single sovereignty and EU membership would pose a great danger for the Turkish Cypriots. “The Greek Cypriots will, over time, use their economic power and population to spread their sovereignty into the North,” Mr Tatar said. 

Emphasising the significance of the right of self-determination and sovereignty, President Tatar pointed out the importance of Turkey, which is our motherland, a guarantor and the most powerful country in the region. “Turkey is in complete unanimity with our position and this gives the Turkish Cypriots strength,” he stated. 

President Tatar expressed that the reasons for the new vision and policy of the Turkish Cypriot side will be conveyed in detail and with sincerity at the five-plus-UN  informal meeting which is set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, between April 27-29.  Stating that they intend to take steps for the future of the Turkish Cypriot people, he emphasised that it is important to relay new ideas at the contemplated meeting.

The President indicated that for a settlement to be realised, there is a need for both sides to give their consent to the mutually acceptable agreement. “Mutual acceptance of the two sides is necessary, but if no agreement is reached, we are not without alternatives,” President Tatar said. 

President Tatar said that the TRNC exists and there are two States on the island and pointed out that for an agreement to be just, stable and sustainable,  it is necessary for it to accord with the realities.