President Ersin Tatar receives UN senior official, Jane Holl Lute
President Ersin Tatar has stated that he has underlined the Turkish Cypriot side’s position of an agreement based on sovereign equality, where there are two States coexisting side-by-side and are in cooperation with each other.
He spoke to press at the Presidential Palace following a one-and-a-half hour meeting with UN senior official Jane Holl Lute on Monday, and said that the meeting had “was very beneficial,” adding: “We were able to restate the views of the Turkish Cypriot side that negotiations that have been ongoing for the past 50 years ... for a federal settlement have not produced a result.”
Also taking part in the meeting was Special Representative, Ergün M. Olgun, Negotiating Team member Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu (MP), Legal Advisor Sülen Karaböcek, Spokesperson Berna Çelik Doğruyol and Political Affairs Officer, Ayşe Balcıoğlu.
President Tatar stated that the Turkish Cypriot side saw the issue of confidence building measures as being separate to the Cyprus issue, adding that he was against these being discussed in any five-plus-UN conference.
He added that with his election to the Presidency, the Turkish Cypriot people had afforded him the mandate with expectations for an agreement that was based on sovereign equality, and the existence of two States coexisting side-by-side that were in cooperation. Elaborating On his support for a five-plus-UN meeting that will be attended by the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots as well as the three guarantor powers, Turkey, Greece and the UK plus the UN, President Tatar said that work was continuing to determine a date for either the end of February or beginning of March – for the informal conference to be held in New York.
Stressing that "the views we are putting forward are gradually beginning to take root",” President Tatar stated: “Because the Turkish Cypriot side, in full agreement with Turkey, is putting forward a clear position. From now on, if there is going to be formal meetings, we have made it clear that this is possible only if negotiations are held on the basis of sovereign equality, of two States coexisting side by side that are in cooperation.
“Because this five-plus-one meeting is an informal, one, we have not made this a precondition, but after having expressed our position, if there is going to be formal meetings, we have made it very clear that we will go to the negotiations on this basis, and will continue the talks only if this is accepted,” he added.
President Tatar stated that, unlike before, the UN was listening to us and that time would tell if a result could be achieved. "However, the realities of Cyprus make it a necessity that we are heeded, otherwise it will be a waste of time for all the parties concerned,” he said.
Recalling that negotiations for a federal settlement that had been going on for the past 50 years had collapsed in Crans-Montana in 2017, President Tatar stressed that sovereign equality and a two-State solution should form the basis of any future talks”.
“The UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, who served as Prime Minister in his own country, saw what happened in Crans-Montana and he understands the issues very well."
President Tatar added: “Cyprus is not the same Cyprus as it was before, and the Eastern Mediterranean is not the same Eastern Mediterranean as it was before. A lot has changed in the region. There are the energy and hydrocarbon resources, the rights and interests of numerous countries. And there is the determined approach taken by Turkey as a Guarantor power which has unbreakable bonds with the Turkish Cypriot people”.
“Our national interests are that the TRNC should be able to develop on a sound basis. In the international arena, the Greek Cypriots must not have any superiority over the Turkish Cypriots. This is why there is a need to have a negotiations process between two sides of equal status. The UN, the EU, the other guarantor powers and others are developing a new understanding for Cyprus. If we are going to find a formula for an agreement, this has to be done on the basis of two States,” he said.
“The Five-Plus-One meeting will give us an opportunity to put these views forward as the Turkish Cypriot side,” President Tatar said, adding “for many years, there were UN parameters for a bizonal, bicommunal settlement" that did not produce result, explained President Tatar, adding "we are now working to think out of the box".