Turkey and the TRNC share unanimity of views for a settlement in Cyprus that is based on sovereign equality and a two State settlement – a position which was conveyed to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during his visit to the island, President Ersin Tatar said.
President Tatar made the remarks during a virtual meeting with prominent journalists of the Republic of Turkey, Hande Fırat, Dicle Canova, Okan Müderrisoğlu, Ahmet Yeşiltepe, Mehmet Akif Ersoy and TRNC Foreign Press Association chairman, Rasıh Reşat, who moderated the meeting.
The President, referring to the visit of Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu on February 2 and the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab on February 4, said the visits were “important” because it allowed the Turkish Cypriot side to put forward their position in relation to the Cyprus issue, as all parties prepare to participate in the planned five-plus-UN informal meeting to be held in March.
“Our position in relation to the Cyprus issue is clear,” President Tatar said. “We are talking about the realities of Cyprus. The realities of today are that there are two separate States in Cyprus. It is not possible to demolish this structure and to create and implement unrealistic mechanisms of a non-existent federal structure. We are in favour of a model based on sovereign equality, where the two States are in cooperation, where they co-exist side-by-side.”
President Tatar stated that the Turkish Cypriot side would “never accept being patched onto the Greek Cypriot side,” adding: “Negotiations for a federal settlement has been filled with failures over a period of more than half-a-century, because of the intransigent Greek Cypriot side, most notably in the Annan Plan of 2004 and lastly in Crans Montana in 2017. The Greek Cypriot side does not want to share the governance and resources of the island. Therefore, based on all of these examples and the realities of the island, we, as the Turkish side, are saying in complete unanimity, that the time has come to discuss alternatives. Our position is clearly for a two State model based on sovereign equality,” he said.
Stating that this will be the position that will be brought to the informal meeting that is being held to discuss whether there is common ground for the start of fresh negotiations, President Tatar said they were now exploring alternative models, which he had put to Mr Raab during his visit.
“Britain acknowledges that nothing is same as before, and there was no discussion with Mr Raab for the resumption of negotiations from where they were left in Crans Montana,” Mr Tatar said.
He said the “UK position is different to that of the EU, whose mechanisms are heavily influenced by Greece and South Cyprus because of their membership”.
President Tatar said that he had explained to Mr Raab during his visit to TRNC that more than 80 per cent of Turkish Cypriot people favoured the guarantees of Turkey according to the polls. Explaining that a sustainable compromise can only be reached with a two State model, the President added he was basing his policy on a “win-win” outcome for both sides in Cyprus. “It is not possible to sustain an agreement by force in the long term," he added.
“TWO STATE SOLUTION MODEL IS BEING DEBATED”
President Tatar said that the UN and Britain – who have been holding discussions with him, and others including the Greek Cypriot side, have begun to debate the issue of a two State model, because it has become evident that for many years negotiations based on a federal model in Cyprus have ended with failures.
“The TRNC is a democratic country with deep roots, with its own laws and institutions,” President Tatar said. “She continues her existence with considerable investments in tourism and higher education, and is increasing its importance in the eastern Mediterranean. The TRNC is continuing to grow stronger day by day.”
“If the Greek Cypriot side does not take meaningful steps for a solution, the TRNC will continue on its path and will grow stronger, and some countries shall recognise the TRNC during this process. . .it should therefore be known to everyone that the lack of a settlement will not be in the interest of the Greek Cypriot side” Mr Tatar stated.
President Tatar added: “The Federation is in fact a trap for the Turkish Cypriots. In the EU, the majority patches the weaker side onto themselves over a period of time. Since Turkey is not a member of the bloc, there is a probability that Turkey will sooner or later leave the island. The intention is to reduce the effectiveness of Turkey and to turn Cyprus into the Greek Cypriot hegemony. In defence of this possibility, we are putting forward a two State policy.”
“MARAŞ OPENING GOES BEYOND THE ORDINARY”
Stating that one of the important steps taken recently is the partial opening of the fenced off area of Maraş, President Tatar said that the town will eventually become a new centre of attraction by being integrated into the economy with its own valuable brand. “With this step, we have smashed the norm and understanding that a reconciliation model has to be solely based on a federation and the return of Maraş, which has always been the expectation of the Greek Cypriot side,” he said. He said despite the pandemic, more than a hundred thousand people have already visited Maraş so far.
"WE ARE IN FULL UNANIMITY WITH THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY"
Referring to Turkey's power in the region, President Ersin Tatar underlined the “full unanimity of views” between the TRNC and Turkey, which he said was not only the motherland of Turkish Cypriot people, but also a guarantor country.
"Throughout history we shouldered the Cyprus issue - in a common struggle jointly with Turkey and today, again we pursue it with a common policy . . .we carry the responsibility on our shoulders of the martyrs who gave their lives for the national cause and we are grateful to their sacrifices as well as to our veterans," the President said.
President Tatar said he was explaining to foreign diplomats the support given by the Turkish Cypriots to Turkey in relation to protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots in eastern Mediterranean and Blue Homeland , which he said became evident when he was elected in October.
“The position of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean is ground-breaking," the President said, adding that “old formulas and models have not produced a settlement. . . Cyprus is not the old Cyprus, and the eastern Mediterranean is not the old eastern Mediterranean. No other solution is sustainable on the island except with a model of two States,” President Tatar said.
“BLOOD HAS NOT BEEN SHED IN CYPRUS AFTER 1975 POPULATIONS EXCHANGE”
President Tatar stated that with the Exchange of Populations Agreement that had been signed in 1975, Turkish Cypriots settled in the North and Greek Cypriots in the South. He said since that date, there has been no conflict or bloodshed.
“Turkey’s presence is the guarantee of peace,” the President stated. “However, unfortunately, there are radical parties on the Greek Cypriot side who are looking for an opportunity to cause at least discomfort if not serious trouble and contrary to the claims of the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish Cypriot people believe the EU’s security mechanisms will be ineffective as evidenced in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”