President Ersin Tatar holds meeting with UK Parliamentarians
“We want a realistic and sustainable settlement on the basis of two States where Turkish Cypriot People and Greek Cypriot People co-exist as good neighbours in a cooperative relationship”
President Ersin Tatar has met with a delegation of UK Parliamentarians who are paying a visit to the TRNC under the Freedom and Fairness for Northern Cyprus Campaign.
President Tatar, who received the delegation on Friday (February, 9), stated that the Cyprus issue has existed for 61 years and said that it is time to “open a new page and a new basis for a realistic and sustainable settlement” on the “basis of two States”.
Welcoming the delegation, consisting of Heather Wheeler MP, Baroness Nosheena Mobarik of Mearns, Giles Watling MP, Pauline Lathan MP and David Reed, Çetin Ramadan and Rikki Williams, President Tatar said: “The UK, as a guarantor and former colonial power, understands the Cyprus issue more than any other country. The UK knows what has been lived in Cyprus, but has taken a very unfair position and is not treating the Turkish Cypriots on an equal basis.”
Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot People and Greek Cypriot People established the partnership Republic of Cyprus in 1960, President Tatar stated that the former British Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, had made statements in the UK Parliament in the 1950s that the Turkish Cypriot People also had the right of self-determination. President Tatar said: “The Turkish Cypriot People have equal inherent rights, namely sovereign equality and equal international status, which they exercised as co-founding partners of the Republic of Cyprus. However, in December 1963, the Greek Cypriot Side, as part of their aspiration to unite Cyprus to Greece, started island-wide attacks on our people, and expelled them from the state apparatus by force of arms. The EOKA terrorist organisation along with Greek-Greek Cypriot forces, surrounded Turkish Cypriot villages and thousands of Turkish Cypriots were either killed or forced to emigrate from the island between 1963 to 1974.”
Explaining that the UN Security Council had unjustly and incorrectly adopted a resolution treating the Greek Cypriots as though they are the sole government of Cyprus in March 1964, President Tatar said: “The Greek Cypriot Side does not have any legitimate or democratic right to represent us Turkish Cypriots. This is a fact that cannot be denied. For more than half-a-century, the Greek Cypriot Side rejected all possible solutions including the UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan of April 2004, where 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots voted against, and 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the UN, EU and international community supported plan in the separately held simultaneous referenda.” President Tatar added that many promises had been made by international actors to end the isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People that would enable them to trade directly and travel directly to and from their own country. “However, despite these promises, the inhumane isolation and restrictions continue on the Turkish Cypriot People,” President Tatar said.
Pointing out that the last and final federal based negotiations collapsed again in Crans-Montana in July 2017, President Tatar said: “The Turkish Side had stated repeatedly that this would be the final attempt to reach a settlement under a federal basis. The process again collapsed, due to the Greek Cypriot Side’s refusal to share power and prosperity on the basis of equality with the Turkish Cypriot People.”
President Tatar referred to the former late Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Rolandis, who publicly wrote that the Greek Cypriot side “has rejected at least 15 federal-based settlement plans over the past half-a-century”.
The President added that former Foreign Secretary of UK, Jack Straw, who was in office during the Annan Plan period, is today writing articles in support of a two State settlement in Cyprus and that Mr Straw has also stated during an interview in the UK, that “it was wrong to accept the Greek Cypriot membership to the EU prior to a settlement in Cyprus”.
Stating that the EU has “further complicated an already complicated issue by accepting the Greek Cypriot Side as a member state prior to a settlement,” President Tatar said: “The EU is not an impartial actor and is always taking the side of the Greek Cypriots in a show of solidarity with its own member state. The EU has not even been able to pass the direct trade regulation or initiate direct flights to Ercan Airport – which was a promise of former EU Enlargement Commissioner, Günter Verheugen.”
President Tatar said that due to the isolation, Turkish Cypriot youth “cannot even play in prominent sports tournaments under their own flag, such as the Olympics; Turkish Cypriot football teams cannot even play international friendlies”.
President Tatar stated that the TRNC is a state, with its own state organs and institutions, with its Presidency, Parliament, Judiciary, police, democracy, and civil organisations.
President Tatar stated that he is putting forward a position for a settlement on the basis of two States and the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot People, which is a position fully supported by the Republic of Türkiye.
President Tatar emphasised: “The UK has two Sovereign Base Areas. The word ‘sovereign’ even exists in their names. The Greek Cypriots are accepted as being sovereign. But they tell us that the Turkish Cypriot People are not sovereign. This is unacceptable and does not reflect the realities of the Island of Cyprus, where for decades there have been two States, each administering themselves. After 61 years of this dispute, the time has come to agree on a settlement on the realities, where the two States can cooperate across different areas that will be to the benefit of both Sides, the region and most importantly, the future generations.”
The meeting was also attended by the Presidential delegation, consisting of Advisor on Legal Affairs Sülen Karabacak, Special Advisor on International Relations and Diplomacy Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Işıksal, Foreign Press Officer Kerem Haser and Interpreter Özlem İnce.