Speaking at the "Sea of Islands and Neighbourhood Relations Problems with Greece Symposium" held in İzmir, President Tatar underlines: “The only settlement in Cyprus is one that is based on two separate States”
President Ersin Tatar took part in the Sea of Islands (Aegean) and Neighbourhood Relations with Greece Symposium that was held in İzmir.
In his speech, President Tatar drew attention to the geo-strategic location and importance of Cyprus and once again stated that the most realistic settlement is one that is based on the existence of two separate sovereign equal states.
The following is the speech delivered by President Tatar:
“Today, September 9, is an extraordinarily important day in the history of the glorious Turkish nation. Being the anniversary of liberation of İzmir, September 9 is also the day of the conquest of Lefkoşa, on the 450th anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus, which lasted for one year and was completed in 1571. A great battle was waged for the conquering of the island – which began with the conquest of Limassol first, followed by Larnaka, Lefkoşa and finally Gazimağusa. The conquest of Cyprus was completed with 80,000 martyrs.
The Sea of Islands, relations with Greece and the position of Cyprus are at the forefront when we look at today. I listened carefully to the comprehensive speech of Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar. There were important details in his speech. I sincerely thank him. As a result, as the President of the TRNC, I will try to evaluate the issue from the point of view of Cyprus.
Cyprus, of course, is an extraordinarily important island for Motherland Turkey and for the stability and future of this region. We just listened to the games that Greece played and is playing in the Aegean. We know very well what the Treaty of Lausanne is and what it includes. Now, the issue of 12 nautical miles is being put forward. It is not possible for Turkey to accept this. This is clear and precise.
When we look at Cyprus, games above and beyond those are actually being played out there as well. We all already know about the attempts to insidiously take from us the island of Cyprus which we took at the cost of 80,000 martyrs. There are provisions and articles stipulating in the Agreement which was signed then that the leasing of Cyprus to Great Britain by the troubled Ottoman Empire was for a temporary period and that if Britain were to leave Cyprus one day, Cyprus would be returned to the Ottoman state or its successor, the Republic of Turkey.
But Britain took advantage of the Ottomans siding with Germany in the First World War and seized Cyprus in 1914, formalising it in 1923with an agreement with the Treaty of Lausanne. How legal is it for Britain to have usurped Cyprus? My view is that this was not right.
According to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey is always a party. While the Cyprus issue is currently being discussed at the negotiating table, Turkey is considered to be only a guarantor country. Yes, Turkey is, of course, the guarantor country as enshrined in the Treaty of Guarantee, but at the same time, since the Republic of Turkey is the continuation of the Ottoman State, according to Article 16 of the Treaty of Lausanne, the Republic of Turkey is and should be a party at all the negotiations. It is, anyway, and it is on the side of the Turkish Cypriots.
Therefore, for the sake of securing the future of the Turkish Cypriot people in Cyprus, as Mr Akar also stated, our policy is for there to be an agreement on the basis of sovereign equality. The game played for years has been for the realisation of a unitary state with an agreement on a federal basis, a single sovereignty, where the majority will rule the minority. Furthermore, the EU regrettably played out a game too when, despite the Turkish Cypriots approval of the Annan Plan and the Greek Cypriots rejection of it in 2004, Greek Cypriots were unilaterally and unlawfully admitted to becoming EU members without any consultation with Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots. This situation has made matters even more complex if not impossible. The Greek Cypriot side being treated as if it is the only government of the island, the UN resolutions and the EU dimension has made matters even more complicated. A solution to the Cyprus issue has been made, in a way, impossible. Turkey also has interests here. We always say that we are struggling for this cause together with Turkey under common and shared values and interests. Turkish Cypriots have always existed with the support of Turkey, which is just 40 miles away from our northern coast. When a person wakes up in the morning in Girne, the Taurus mountains are clearly visible in the morning. When you look from Anamur, you can see the Beşparmak Mountains of the TRNC. When we evaluate these conflicts in the Aegean, there are also the games played in Eastern Mediterranean, in Cyprus. The game is played with the aim of separating Cyprus from Turkey in a unitary structure or within the EU; The federal framework, the sole sovereignty within the EU, and its separation from Turkey over time. These are the objectives of the games being played.
Of course, we can very easily evaluate what would happen to Cyprus with its separation from Turkey. At that time, the supply routes of the Republic of Turkey, its dominance in the eastern Mediterranean, and its strategic dimension would be compromised. As its extension in the eastern Mediterranean, we are able to use our own will to evaluate and consult all these issues together with Turkey and develop policies accordingly. Now, the new policy following my election as President, which is being put forward with the support of the Republic of Turkey, is arduously explaining to the whole world that a settlement in Cyprus can only be reached based on the cooperation of two separate States that are in coexistence side-by-side, on the basis of sovereign equality.
Bringing the old parameters of the UN to the agenda and imposing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation are aimed at the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and the severing of our ties with Turkey in the EU. We cannot accept this. Greek Cypriots have never accepted an agreement on the basis of equality under the umbrella of a federation. Everyone knows this very well. The negotiating minutes confirm this. The game being played is that, with free movement, free settlement, and free movement of capital, they will capture the north of Cyprus over time and spread their domination to the north Cyprus as well as Turkey's continental shelf and territorial waters and air space in the eastern Mediterranean, ‘Blue Vatan’ (Blue Homeland), and the exclusive economic zone to encircle Turkey in all its dimensions . And so the game is to surround Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean as well, as an extension of the dangers we just heard about in the Aegean islands. No one will allow this, we will never permit this. This is the meaning of our struggle.
We are a people who have been fighting this struggle in Cyprus since 1571, a people who paid a heavy price for our sovereignty, independence and freedom, gave martyrs and stood against all kinds of genocide and savagery. As a result, we were able to resist every situation with Turkey's support, establish Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT), obtained Turkey's guarantor rights with the 1960 agreements, and resisted both in Erenköy with Turkey's guarantee, and stood up to the massacres before 1974. The coup d'etat by the Junta Administration in Greece on July 15, 1974 with its collaborators in Cyprus to make Cyprus a Greek island was the last move. When the UK set foot on the island in 1878, the priests surrounded the British governor, saying that "our only goal is to annex the island to Greece," and they have lived with this dream ever since.
Presently, the President of the Greek Cypriot Administration, Nikos Anastasiadis, in his speeches on his national days, states that ‘Cyprus forms an integral part of Hellenism. Cyprus will be Helenic. . .This will continue to be our will until we reach the final goal,’ he says. We have resisted all these, and we will continue to resist. Because behind us is the Republic of Turkey, which will be 85 million today and 100 million tomorrow. We are not alone, we have our Motherland behind us. The Republic of Turkey, which is the guarantor country and the largest and most powerful country in this region, is growing stronger as it continues to exist and is putting forward the will to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people. As for us, we the Turkish Cypriot people, maintain our policy in cooperation with the Republic of Turkey in the protection of our rights, law and security, and in the protection of the historical rights of the Republic of Turkey.
It is not possible for us to approve the games aimed at the destruction of the Turkish Cypriot people whilst at the same time trying to end the existence and domination of the Republic of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. It is our duty to examine this policy in depth and to monitor the other side in every detail. Of course, there may be people in Cyprus who think differently from us. But our way is the right way. Our way is the way of the nation. Our way is the way of Anatolia. Our way is to preserve our unbreakable historical ties with Turkey. It is honourable politics and the struggle for existence.
Today, September 9, I am honoured to be in İzmir. I have felt pride whilst delivering this speech. It gives us pride and honour to be a part of this great struggle starting from the Aegean and extending to the eastern Mediterranean, as the Turkish Cypriot people, and to have a role in this struggle.
In political terms, it is important that the TRNC continues to get stronger together with great Turkey, and it is important that the Turkish Cypriot people are also involved politically in all these strategic moves and games in order to secure a safe future and a prosperous life. The Greeks never owned the island. The Greeks never ruled the Turks. Our ancestors ruled Cyprus for more than 300 years. When we ask foreigners about the admission of the Greek Cypriot side to the EU, they say it is a political decision. They say whatever suits their purpose at that particular time, sometimes it is a political decision, other times it is a legal decision.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses the injustice of this system in his speeches. We dream of a world order in which the right is strong, and not where the strong is right. We continue our struggle. We will continue to struggle for the protection of our rights until the end. There is a Turkish state in the eastern Mediterranean. Its name is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This state is sovereign. It owes its sovereignty and existence to the just struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people, and this struggle began in 1571.
If there is peace in Cyprus today, it is because of the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces and the Cyprus Peace Operation. Thank God there has been peace in Cyprus since 1974.
The Cyprus issue is not an issue between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. As it is reflected in the international agreements and treaties too, it is also a national issue in the formation and keeping of balances between Turkey and Greece. It is necessary for Turkey's physical and effective guarantee in Cyprus to continue. Otherwise, games played in the Aegean will be played in the eastern Mediterranean. With the continuation of our stance on these issues, standing firm, and the increasing power of the Republic of Turkey in recent years, the world must now see the truth."