President Ersin Tatar speaks to TRT World

President Ersin Tatar said that a settlement in Cyprus based on a two State model will pave the way for sustainable peace and stability in Cyprus.

The President made the remarks during an interview on TRT World, where he spoke about the latest developments on the Cyprus issue as well as the policy and vision of the Turkish Cypriot side for a “cooperative relationship” of two States co-existing side-by-side which enjoy equal international status.

The President also thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for “conveying the two State solution model and the Cyprus issue during his recent telephone conversation” with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

“Mutual gains from an agreement based on cooperation”

Evaluating the recent visit of UN Senior Official, Jane Hall Lute and his meeting with her, President Tatar said that it was a “very fruitful meeting. . . Ms Lute is familiar and apprehends the problem very well having been involved on the Cyprus issue for the past four years”.

“It is not an easy problem as Ms Lute said in our meeting. . .although Cyprus might be a small island in the eastern Mediterranean… the problem itself is not so easy to solve and has been on the table for nearly 55 years,” the President said.

President Tatar explained that the Greek Cypriots, who had an aspiration to unite Cyprus with Greece, had three years after forming the partnership Republic of Cyprus in 1960 ejected the Turkish Cypriots from the “state apparatuses” through acts of atrocities.

“The Turkish Cypriots were exposed to all kinds of atrocities until Motherland Turkey intervened in 1974, and there has been peace with no bloodshed on the island since. From then on, we have been running our state affairs in a separate state . . . we formed our own state in 1983. The problem in Cyprus is how you reconcile these two different entities because when the Greek Cypriots say that they want a federal structure, in actual fact they want a unified structure within the EU,” President Tatar said.

The President said that in a unified structure within the EU, the Turkish Cypriot existence on the island in the long term would be compromised with the guarantee rights of Turkey being diluted.

“Therefore, what we have been discussing with Jane Lute. . .is that we will be going to the informal meeting in Geneva between April 27-29 to convey our new ideas with sincerity, which is supported wholeheartedly by the Republic of Turkey, where we will put forward our new vision and policy for a settlement that is based on sovereign equality and a basis of two States being existing side-by-side, that cooperate on various issues, because up until now all that was on the table was a federal structure which has resulted in repeated failures due to the Greek Cypriot hegemonic aspiration,” the President said.

“A settlement will benefit Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriots. A settlement will open up the ports, airspace and the market of the Republic of Turkey to Greek Cypriot businessmen. It is a win-win potential,” the President said.

“EU is not capable of being an independent party”

President Tatar also answered a question in relation to the recent visit of Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission.

The President said that he had a “very frank and open discussion” with Mr Borrell during his visit to the Presidency last Friday, where a request was made for the EU to be afforded an ‘observer status’ in the informal meeting. President Tatar said: “If we allow the EU to be a party at the table, they will act in full favour of Greece and the Greek Cypriot side because of their membership in the bloc and their influence in the mechanisms, Commission and other organs of the EU, which would be unfair and against Turkish Cypriots. According to the UN, there is a need for the consent of both sides and even the guarantor countries . . . for another party to sit at the table”.

“UK is playing an active role in trying to help the sides”

President Tatar referred to the visit of British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab to the island last month where he also visited the Presidency and upon being asked as to whether the UK could be capable of being more objective than the EU, President Tatar said: “The UK is one of the three guarantors, along with Turkey and Greece and is informed of all aspects of the Cyprus issue. Britain played an instrumental part in handing over the sovereignty of the island to Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The UK also has two SBA’s on the island, and I believe they are in a better position to evaluate the matter. The UK will, as a guarantor country, participate in the five-plus-UN informal meeting.”

President Tatar said, however, that the UK cannot concern itself with putting forward a settlement plan, adding that it is for the two sides to find an agreement. “However I believe the UK is actively participating in a way to help the two sides to come to an agreement and this was shown during the visit of Mr Raab during his visit to my office,” President Tatar said.