Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu’s press conference
Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu provided the media with some details of his first visit to Turkey as well as an update on the negotiation process.
Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu explained that the most recent developments of the negotiations had been discussed during his meetings in Ankara, as well as the opening of new consulates in Antalya, Trabzon and Gaziantep.
As he made an assessment of the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus, he said: “If you do not sit at the negotiation table on equal terms, then getting up from the table as equals is impossible. We do not sit at the negotiation table on equal terms.”
Minister Ertuğruloğlu said, as he reminded listeners that he was Foreign Minister when the Annan Plan was on the agenda between 1999-2004: “I never thought that the negotiation process would end with a mutually acceptable, fair and viable agreement. The negotiation process itself did not allow it. The whole negotiation process was based on inequality.”
Minister Ertuğruloğlu stated that the Presidential elections which will be held in South Cyprus in 2018 mark a natural timeline for the negotiation process in Cyprus, which he emphasized should not carry on forever.
Referring back to the 2004 UN backed Annan Plan, which the Greek Cypriots had overwhelmingly rejected; Ertuğruloğlu said “It is not in the interest of the Greek Cypriots to agree to a plan such as the Annan Plan. They know that they would not approve of an agreement which puts the Turkish Cypriots on an equal basis with them and that saying ‘no’ for a second time will not benefit them either. Their policy is to avoid going to another referendum and just to leave this process hanging by suspending negotiations now and again. We should not let this happen. It is clear that the current process is no longer sustainable.”
“We are dealing with a process where the Greek Cypriot side is recognized as the Republic of Cyprus, whereas the Turkish Cypriot community is being portrayed as an ethnic minority within this Republic, whose political identity and sovereignty are being denied. The proposal to unite the Island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation would carry the possibility of leaving the future of Turkish Cypriots at the mercy of the Greek Cypriot side if the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriot side were ignored.”
While acknowledging that there should also be a meeting including the guarantor powers of Turkey, Greece and the UK, Ertuğruloğlu said that “Turkey’s guarantee is essential for us. It is something which is not even open to discussion.”
“We are equal owners of the island of Cyprus. We are not a nation that will be brought under the influence of the Greek Cypriots, or left at their mercy. Our only assurance and guarantor in this matter is of course our motherland Turkey.”
Özgürgün: “A state policy for the EU, is one of the priorities of our government
Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün emphasized the need for a state policy for the EU, to objectively inform the Turkish Cypriot people about the EU, and to promote a new EU vision that guarantees the rights of the Turkish Cypriot. It is also a priority of the Government to develop the EU Communication Strategy with the participation of all stakeholders.
In his written statement, he also assessed the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU: “We welcome the people’s decision with respect. It has been taken by the British people, including thousands of our brothers and sisters who are citizens of the UK.”
Özgürgün added: “The referendum result has caused great disappointment here; the fundamental values of the EU have been challenged. The arguments of those who want to leave the EU saying: ‘the Turks are coming, let’s leave the EU’ are frightening, humiliating, alienating and racist.”
Prime Minister Özgürgün also stated that alongside its economic difficulties, the EU has been faced with rising Islamophobia, anti-immigration, and racist movements in recent years.
“Turkish Cypriot people consider that the European Union has been built to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and are greatly disappointed by this result.”
Akıncı: “The Turkish Cypriot people should continue to see their future in the EU”
Regarding the decision given by the UK to leave the EU, President Mustafa Akıncı stressed his belief that Turkish Cypriot people should continue to see their future in the European Union.
In a written statement, President Akıncı stated that despite the narrow majority in which it was reached, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU is a democratic one. Pointing out that the decision would have a broad political, economic and social impact, Akıncı said he was confident that the EU and the UK would find a way to work together in order to minimize the negative effects in the forthcoming months.
President Akinci also said: “Cyprus has a past with the United Kingdom that goes back many years. Both North and South Cyprus will be affected by this decision. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus must work quickly and efficiently to see how this will affect us economically and how we can overcome this” adding that the referendum will likely lead to other members wanting to leave the EU.
President Akıncı said: “Undoubtedly the European Union is not perfect but for us, becoming an integral part of the EU, with social and institutional rights guaranteed, is important”. He concluded that: “the modern democratic norms of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are valid.”
In a unified Cyprus, there would be two “Constituent States”
The Turkish Cypriot authorities are calling for a consistent use of the term “constituent state” during the Negotiations.
They regret that on occasion, the Greek Cypriot authorities and media refer to “federal states” instead, which is not the same as “constituent states”, which the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014 and several consensus papers mention.
A diplomatic source reported that the Federation would be based on the equality between the two constituent states.
It was also stated that the cooperation agreements between the two equal constituent states and the federal government are to be discussed during the intensified negotiations throughout the coming weeks.
Tatar: “The attacks on the Turkish Cypriots cannot be ignored”
The National Unity Party (UBP) Member of Parliament for Lefkoşa Ersin Tatar stated that “The attacks on Turkish Cypriot citizens in South Cyprus and the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side cannot be ignored in the negotiations.”
Tatar also said: “The Greek Cypriot authorities have not done enough in order to stop the attacks or punish the culprits. The Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades announced that the presence of the ELAM party in the Greek Cypriot parliament is normal.”
Pointing out that the increase in racist assaults against Turkish Cypriots, particularly the youth is unacceptable, Tatar said that the attackers must be caught and tried. It is the responsibility of the Greek Cypriot Administration to ensure that such attacks stop happening.
In his written statement, Tatar indicated that a substantial part of the Greek Cypriot population does not want a solution based on equal sovereignty and the continuation of Turkey’s full and effective guarantee.
Turkey’s contribution to the Committee on Missing Persons reaches 1 million dollars
Turkey has now contributed 1 million dollars to the works of the Committee on Missing Persons.
The Turkish Ambassador to Lefkoşa, H.E. Derya Kanbay, met with a Turkish Cypriot Member of the Committee on Missing Persons, Ms. Gülden Plümer, and presented the new contribution of Turkey, which amounts to 100,000 dollars.
In his speech, Ambassador Kanbay wished the Committee success.
Ms. Plümer thanked Ambassador Kanbay and explained that the Turkish contribution is extremely valuable.
The Committee on Missing Persons is conducting investigations to determine the missing persons after the tragic events of 1963-1964 and 1974, and to return their remains to their families.
The TRNC Presidency to pursue attackers until they are brought to trial
Regarding the 5 TRNC citizens who were assaulted in South Cyprus, the TRNC Presidency stated that it will continue to pursue the matter until the attackers are caught and justice is done.
The Presidency issued a written statement to explain that a meeting with the Greek Cypriot authorities had taken place regarding this attack, and to enquire about the victims’ recovery.
It was stressed in the statement that the Greek Cypriot authorities are determined to arrest those responsible to bring them to justice.
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