Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ozdil Nami’s
speech at the 41st Session of the
OIC Council of Foreign Ministers
We have received and are pleased to publish the following speech supplied by the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Public Information Office.
Mr. Secretary General,
Today, we have convened here as the representatives of the Muslim Ummah while chaos, bloodshed and wars are ravaging many parts of the Muslim world.
There cannot be any excuse, political or whatsoever gain when Muslims are fighting with Muslims. If we do not take the necessary steps to put our houses into shape, no one will and the Muslim world will always be prone to external manipulations and interventions. It is high time that we come together to achieve peace and stability in our region.
Humanitarian tragedies in each one of these conflicts pains us all. Within our limited means we as the Turkish Cypriot government extend support to refugees arriving to North Cyprus in the form of social assistance and education. We will remain engaged in these efforts and do what we can to help our brothers in the region. We would like to express our hope and expectation that Muslims of Western Thrace in Greece can live free of violence, intimidation and their rights fully respected. We also express our solidarity with Azerbaijan over occupied Karabagh.
In particular the terrorist attack against the Turkish Consulate and its personnel in Mousul is unacceptable. Such violence is not only against international law but also trumps all humanitarian and Islamic values.
I would like to provide brief information regarding our cooperation with the OIC.
Turkish Cypriot state is contributing to the work and the activities of the OIC. For example, in previous years, the Turkish Cypriot state had hosted many OIC events in North Cyprus including an investment forum, another one on higher education and a conference on water and food security in OIC Member States. Most recently, we organized a workshop entitled investment strategies in collaboration with the Islamic Center for Development and Trade. Needless to say such events constitute an important part of our work with the OIC and the Turkish Cypriot State will continue to actively contribute future events of the OIC.
Our economy is steadily developing despite the global financial crisis crippling the world economies. New investments are being realized with the assistance and support of our state investment agency, such as marina and an upgraded airport. The government is providing many incentives and potential investors are assured to enjoy all the benefits of the investment friendly environment in North Cyprus.
The Islamic Development Bank visited Turkish Cypriot State only last week with a group of business persons and investors from member states to specifically take up the details of the projects such as helal food processing and transit cargo handling. As part of this cooperation, at the moment, the Islamic Development Bank in cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce is implementing a
very important project in the Turkish Cypriot State worth 15m USD. The project envisages establishing an investment company in the form of a joint venture for the businessmen from member states.
Tourism is an important economic sector where we are making considerable progress. The bed capacity of our hotels have exceeded 20,000, hotels with six stars ratings have come into operation and serving clients from all over the world. This is a promising area of investment where entrepreneurs from member states are most welcomed and encouraged by our government with favorable tax regimes.
North Cyprus is also emerging as a center of higher education in Eastern Mediterranean. At the moment, we are accommodating more than 60,000 students from all over the world. Our universities and higher education institutions are accredited to many international bodies and agencies. We are expecting the member states which had not yet extended accreditation to our institutions to do so by recognizing the degrees conferred by our universities. I would like to reiterate this call once more here.
The Turkish Cypriot State is implementing an intensive EU harmonization programme in close cooperation with the EU Commission. As part of this programme, we have adopted more than 70 pieces of legislation harmonizing not only our laws but also the day-to-day practice with the EU rules and standards. All these are increasing the life quality of North Cyprus and also making it a safe and friendly environment for investors from all over the world.
In line with the EU harmonization programme, we are able to export our local products to EU with less cost and greater accessibility. We would like to invite potential business people to come to North Cyprus and be part of this expanding sector.
Allow me briefly also to inform you about the latest state of United Nations led peace talks in Cyprus between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot leaders for the comprehensive settlement.
The Cyprus talks that have been going on for five decades reached a critical stage on 11 February 2014 when the two leaders agreed on a joint declaration. This is a historic document because for the very first time, the Turkish Cypriot leader and the Greek Cypriot leader agreed on some of most crucial aspects of the solution. Though not all some key points are as follow:
The settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality.
The United Cyprus, as a member of the United Nations and of the European Union, shall have a single international legal personality and a single sovereignty.
The sovereignty will emanate equally from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
There will be a single United Cyprus citizenship and all citizens of the United Cyprus shall also be citizens of either the Greek-Cypriot Constituent State or the Turkish-Cypriot Constituent State.
There will be two Constituent States of equal status which will exercise fully and irrevocably all their powers, free from encroachment by the Federal Government.
Neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.
The historic agreement raised hopes and expectations. As part of this promising atmosphere, the US Vice President Joe Biden visited Cyprus contributing to the process.
Unfortunately the Greek Cypriot side is not using the process wisely and is following delaying tactics. The Greek Cypriot side is not respecting past agreements which are the backbone of a future peace settlement and the result of years of work. Due to this intransigence, there is the danger that the talks would have to start from scratch. Turkish Cypriot side is constructively trying to overcome this and there is a role for the United Nations to play in order to move the process forward. In this respect, all members of the international community is expected to encourage the Greek Cypriot side to adopt a positive approach and respect past agreements.
At a time when new energy resources are found around Cyprus, we believe supplying these to the European market by also consolidating them with the resources of neighboring countries will contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in Cyprus and the wider region.
H.E. Secretary General,
We are very grateful to the esteemed members of the OIC for their support extended to the just cause of the Turkish Cypriot people through successive OIC resolutions and declarations. These resolutions and declarations call upon member states to strengthen effective solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots and to take concrete steps to end the unjust and unjust isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. Moreover, they call upon all member states to further develop bilateral relations with the Turkish Cypriots in all fields such as direct transport, trade, tourism, culture, education, sports and in this respect, to exchange high-level visits with the Turkish Cypriot side. I am confident that the member states will continue to take concrete steps in enhancing the bilateral relations with our country.
I would like to end my address by thanking the Kingdom and brotherly people of Saudi Arabia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs his Royal Highness Prince Saud al-Faisal for the warm welcome and reception accorded to us during our stay in Jeddah as well as the OIC General Secretary and his staff for their efforts in making this important meeting a great success.