President Ersin Tatar receives UK Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty

“The UK should take a leading role in ending the inhumane isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People and re-establish direct trade and travel links with us”

President Ersin Tatar received the UK Minister of Europe, Leo Docherty, where he called upon Britain to review its unequal treatment of the Turkish Cypriot People and to take effective action to end their inhumane isolation.  

President Tatar issued a written statement to the press following the 30-minute long meeting that was held today at the Presidency in Lefkoşa, which was also attended by his Special Representative M. Ergün Olgun, members of the negotiating team and the British High Commissioner İrfan Siddiq.

President Tatar stated: “The meeting passed in a sincere atmosphere, and we explained the need for Turkish Cypriot People, who have sovereign equal rights in Cyprus, to be able to express our case to British officials in the UK. We explained that Guarantor Britain needs to respect the inherent equality of the Turkish Cypriot Side – to include rights, status and opportunities. We particularly stated our expectation for a more flexible approach by the UK towards the Turkish Cypriot People in ending our isolation, particularly following her departure from the EU.”

President Tatar stated that Cyprus is a national issue for the Republic of Türkiye and for the Turkish Cypriot People, adding: “The Greek Cypriot Side has persistently tried to dominate the whole island which resulted in the emergence of two States – with Turkish Cypriot People governing themselves since December 1963.   My People were expelled from the state apparatus of the partnership republic by force of arms because of the long-standing aspiration of the Greek Cypriots to unite Cyprus with Greece.”

Stating that he also conveyed to the UK Minister of Europe that “I share British values of justice and equality for all Peoples as someone who was educated and lived in the UK for many years,” President Tatar added: “There is a need for the UK to re-establish direct trade and travel links which is causing additional hours to travel time and increasing air fares.   I also questioned as to what justification can be made for the restrictions on the Turkish Cypriot People to be continued”.

President Tatar emphasised that “Turkish Cypriot youth cannot even participate in many important sports tournaments under their own identity because of Greek Cypriot placed obstacles”.   The President added that the disembarkation issue for flights between the UK and the TRNC was another issue which was discussed, adding that this situation is causing hardship to Turkish Cypriots and expats who have chosen to make the TRNC their home or to visit the country as tourists.

President Tatar said that “the existence of two States cannot be ignored in reaching a settlement in Cyprus, and the acknowledgment of this reality is essential for preparing the ground for a political settlement”.  

The President added: “We support a sustainable settlement, of peace and of stability, that is fair and based on the sovereign equality of the two Sides.  The Turkish Cypriot People are as sovereign as the Greek Cypriot People. . . there is a need for the sovereign equality of Turkish Cypriots to be reaffirmed. Once this is accepted, we are prepared to take part in new formal negotiations. However, we cannot be held hostage to never ending federal-based negotiations which have been tried, tested and failed at least on 15 attempts, for more than half-a-century. Insisting on the same exhausted basis is not going to work. We need to be open to fresh new ideas. Our two State policy is realistic, forward looking and provides a sustainable basis.” 

Mr Docherty thanked President Tatar for receiving him and paid tribute to the Turkish Cypriots in the UK for their contributions to the UK.