The Foreign Residents in the TRNC (TFR)

Dr Kudret Özersay speaks to TFR members

Introduction by Ralph Kratzer

TFR-LogoThis year, the association The Foreign Residents in the TRNC (TFR) is planning to invite, at regular intervals, different public persons of North Cyprus for speeches, to make first-hand information about various topics – such as politics, culture, art, health, etc. – accessible to its members.

Özersay - Mavroyannis
Özersay (r) and Greek Cypriot negotiator Mavroyannis

As the first guest of honor Dr Kudret Özersay was invited. He studied political and legal sciences and holds degrees as Master and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). After finishing University, Dr Özersay was – after activities for the OSCE (European Security and Cooperation Organisation) and as a faculty member at Eastern Mediterranean University – for 12 years significantly involved in the peace negotiations in Cyprus, most recently as chief negotiator for Northern Cyprus under President Eroglu. He currently works as a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the EMU. He is a founding member of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation and candidate for the presidential election in April 2015 in the TRNC.

After being welcomed by the Committee of the TFR and after a brief introduction by the Chairman Heinz Nauroth, Dr. Özersay delivered a speech entitled “A new vision for our country.” in front of about 50 members of the association.

It is time to build our own future…

says Dr. Kudret Özersay

By Heidi Trautmann

‘There is something rotten in the State of Denmark’  with these words I have begun my interview with Dr. Kudret Özersay in May 2013 having watched his activities for many months before I contacted him. I don’t think that I have to add much more to what I said then to describe the person and his vision for the TRNC but the important fact now is that he has decided to stand for presidency. To read my interview please click here!

P1020892On 13th February 2015, he came to meet members of the TFR at the Acmenya Restaurant in Alsancak, the place where the association holds its regular weekly meetings, following the invitation and the wish of the TFR – with more than 20 different nationalities – to learn more about the vision of this man who is standing up for presidency.

Kudret Özersay is fully aware of the situation Cyprus is in and that nothing will ever change  ….. ‘if we don’t begin to change the things from inside, we have to get down to the root of our troubles ourselves, we must not wait until the Cyprus Problem is solved, or if someone from outside comes to lend a hand, no, we must bring order into our house. For too long the home made problems have been put aside with the excuse that the Cyprus Problem stands in our way, that we cannot make a move to better the situation…..’

With these home made troubles Kudret Özersay means among others the municipalities that carry the load of triple the amount of civil servants that are required, the non existent handling of environment problems, the water and electricity problems – I add here the telephone communication problems – and last but not least the health system ‘….there is a lack of professionalism in the civil authorities, that is why a normal running of procedures is blocked, due to the inefficiency of people doing their jobs, although the president has the right to select the people he sees fit for the job. Civil servants must be carefully selected, and this what I intend to do should I be sitting on the chair of the president’…….

P1020893The main interest by the TFR members lies with the peace talks, will there be a reunification and under what conditions, and of course the property issue. Kudret Özersay has been closely involved with all these issues having been the negotiator for so many years.  … ‘the talks must be conducted with a give and take attitude, there is no other way.  The hold-ups are nothing but an excuse.  The property issue can no longer be regarded from the law point of view, there is an emotional value that has to be taken into consideration when it comes to decision making in front of a court.  ‘These are matters I will have to take care of in first place’, he said.

A further point of discussion was permanent residence and citizenship for foreign residents a problem which was held on hold for many years. Kudret Özersay promised that in case he was being elected he would take care of that since he believes that all people living on the island permanently have rights, the right to participate and the right to vote, but at the same time he has to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.  A proper balance is necessary.

P1020895Many other points were being discussed, ‘what would be if’ sort of questions and Kudret Özersay answered them truthfully and  his statements were clear without arising any false hope. He is working for a clean society and transparent politics, a modern united society based on the advantages of multi cultural background.

So far as I could see, Dr. Kudret Özersay was shown trust and sympathy by the TFR members  and we thank him for the time he took to explain his vision of the future with simple words.

What we need, not only in Cyprus, are politicians with a vision, a captain who knows the waters he is taking his ship through, the cliffs he needs to go around and the safe büküs he can anchor in when the weather is too stormy.

View more pictures of the event in a slideshow – click here!