President Ersin Tatar speaks to the press following his meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

"We cannot wait forever for a solution, we will continue with our State"


President Ersin Tatar has met with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday (5 April).
The President spoke to the press following the meeting that was held at 12pm local time (7pm TRNC time) at the UN Headquarters building. President Tatar said that he had explained to the Secretary-General his position with regards to the Cyprus issue and the need for the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot Side to be reaffirmed and acknowledged.
The President also stated that he had also conveyed the expectation of the Turkish Cypriot Side for the inhumane isolation and restrictions on the Turkish Cypriots to be lifted by the international community.
Stating that it is not possible for negotiations to be “resumed from where they were left in Crans-Montana,” President Tatar said that “negotiations under the federal basis have been exhausted”.
Stressing that there are “two States and two Peoples in the Island of Cyprus,” President Tatar added: “Negotiations under a federal basis have been held for the past 60 years. There have been many different UN representatives that have served in previous processes. However, the outcome of federal based negotiations have ended with failures. The last and final attempt for a federal settlement was made in Crans-Montana in July 2017, which again ended with failure, and I have stated to the UN Secretary-General today that negotiations on this basis have been exhausted.”
Explaining that the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, is exploring whether common ground exists or not to start new and formal negotiations, President Tatar stated that the personal envoy has a limited mandate, for a period not exceeding six months. “We continue to support the work of Ms Holguin within the scope of her mandate,” President Tatar said.
Drawing attention to the injustice faced by Turkish Cypriot People, President Tatar stated that the isolation is preventing direct flights and direct trade to the TRNC. He said Turkish Cypriot sportspeople are unable to participate in many prominent international sports organisations and even cultural events due to the inhumane isolation and restrictions. “I have asked for the international community and the UN to end this injustice,” President Tatar said.
President Tatar added that the Greek Cypriot Side expelled the Turkish Cypriots from the 1960 established partnership Republic of Cyprus by force of arms and has deprived them of their sovereign equality and equal international status. “The Greek Cypriot Side have rejected numerous federal-based plans, including the UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan in April 2004, in the separately held simultaneous referenda, which had been accepted by the Turkish Cypriot People. Despite the promises by the international community to end our isolation, these promises have never been honoured. Despite voting against the settlement plan, the Greek Cypriots were admitted as a member state to the EU. I have today stated our expectation to the Secretary-General that this level of injustice needs to be addressed. The isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People needs to be ended.”
President Tatar stated that there are “two States and two Peoples” in Cyprus, which he said “is a fact known by everybody”.
Pointing out that a solution can be found based on the cooperative relationship of the two existing states in Cyprus, President Tatar noted that the “Turkish Cypriot people will not wait forever for a solution to be agreed and will continue on their way with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.
President Ersin Tatar, who answered questions from the press, stated that he had explained the facts in Cyprus and the position of the Turkish Cypriot side to the Secretary-General and said that they will “wait and see Ms Holguin's report at the end of her term”.
The President reiterated the “grave injustice” faced by the Turkish Cypriots who are continuing to be isolated from the rest of the world and said the promises to end the isolation by the international community and the EU have never come to fruition. He said this was an issue that he had discussed with the Secretary-General where he put forward the expectations of the Turkish Cypriot Side.
President Tatar stated that the Greek Cypriots are continuing to be treated as though they are the sole authority of the Island of Cyprus, whilst Turkish Cypriots continue to be embargoed, and their existence ignored by the international community.
“I explained all of these issues in my meeting today with the Secretary-General. We are continuing to put forward our two State position, that is fully supported by the Republic of Türkiye, which is a realistic and sustainable basis for a settlement, that allows the two Sides to co-exist as good neighbours in a cooperative relationship,” President Tatar said.
President Tatar added that the Turkish Cypriot Side is continuing its pro-settlement stance and had said “yes” to the Annan Plan in the separately held simultaneous referenda in 2004, but he said it is “unacceptable for the embargoes to be continued on our people, despite the promises that were made to end them. I am specifically referring to the issue of direct flights, direct trade and sports. The continuation of these by the UN for 60 years does not correspond to the realities of the island”.
UN and EU should review their policy on Cyprus
President Tatar stated that this is why the Cyprus issue continues and that the UN and the EU should reconsider their policy on Cyprus.
President Tatar stated that he had touched on these issues in the meeting and that a solution to the problem cannot be found as long as one party is treated as a state, whilst the other is treated like a community. He said there is a need to fix the imbalance and level the playing field between the two Sides, if there is to be a way forward.