April 1, 2023

President Tatar speaks at Antalya Diplomacy Forum: “We will sit at the negotiating table once our sovereign equality has been reaffirmed”

The President made the comments in reference to the Cyprus issue during a session of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) that was hosted by Jean-Paul Carteron at the Patara Hall of the Nest Congress and Fair Centre.

“We attach great importance to Turkey’s guarantee and this guarantee is also very important for stability in the region”

In reference to the past of the Turkish Cypriots on the island and conveying information about the recent history of Cyprus, President Tatar stated that Turkish Cypriots were the “co-founders of the Republic of Cyprus partnership which was established in 1960,” adding that “Turkish Cypriot people were evicted by force of arms from the state apparatus, with attacks being staged against Turkish Cypriots across the island from 1963 to 1974”.

The President said that following 11 years of atrocities committed against Turkish Cypriot people by the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo under the aspiration of annexing the island of Cyprus with Greece, and the coup d’état staged on July 15, 1974 by the Greek junta which declared the ‘Hellenic Republic of Cyprus’, the Republic of Türkiye exercised her obligation under the Treaty of Guarantee and intervened in Cyprus in 1974 in order to save the Turkish Cypriot people. “We attach great importance to Turkey’s guarantee and this guarantee is also very important for stability in the region,” the President said.

Referring to negotiations for a settlement in Cyprus, President Tatar stated: “Negotiations in Cyprus have been held on the same basis for 54 years. . . previous presidents have put forward great effort with the aim of reaching an equality-based settlement under a federal structure. However, the Greek Cypriot side has rejected 15 proposals and plans due to lack of an overarching interest and absence of any incentive. We have had enough of federal based negotiations. We have put forward a new policy that is supported by the Republic of Türkiye, for a settlement that is based on the sovereign equality and equal international status of the two sides. This is the way to reaching sustainable peace and stability in Cyprus.”

“Greek Cypriot side’s understanding of a federation completely differs from ours”

The President referred to the 2004 separately held simultaneous referenda on both sides of Cyprus for a UN comprehensive settlement [Annan] plan, that was rejected by 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots, and accepted by 64 per cent of Turkish Cypriots, and said: “However, despite this outcome, the EU admitted the Greek Cypriot side as the whole island to become a member state. The Turkish Cypriot side was left out in the cold, and the promises to end our unjust isolation, to commence direct trade and direct travel to and from our country, has not been honoured.”

President Tatar added that the EU membership issue has “further complicated the Cyprus issue”.

Emphasising that the Greek Cypriot understanding of a federation was at loggerheads to that of the understanding of Turkish Cypriots, the President said that “the understanding of both sides of a federation is 180 degrees apart. . . The Greek Cypriot side sees a federation as being one where the Republic of Türkiye departs from Cyprus. This is something we will never accept.”

“We will never abandon our State”

“We have seen this game time and time again,” the President continued, in reference to the endeavours of the Greek Cypriot side to perpetuate the status-quo through endless negotiations and outdated so-called proposals. “The guarantee of the Republic of Türkiye is of critical importance for Turkish Cypriot people. Our new policy on the Cyprus issue takes into account previous failures and the unchanged mentality of the Greek Cypriot side and their refusal to share power and prosperity with us based on equality. The new basis of negotiations should be based on the reaffirmation of the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot side, which is an inherent right. The way to build trust and confidence should be through a structured cooperative relationship of the two sides where two States co-exist side-by-side. This is a win-win situation for all in Cyprus and the region and promotes regional peace and stability. We will continue to work for our equal independence.”

Explaining that the support by the Republic of Türkiye has been pivotal in the Turkish Cypriot struggle to co-exist as one of the co-owners of Cyprus, President Tatar stated that “Cyprus is a national issue for both Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Answering the questions of participants after his speech, President Tatar, when asked as to what would happen if the two State solution was not accepted, answered: “We will continue with our struggle to develop and strengthen the TRNC. We will never abandon our State. The isolation of Turkish Cypriot people – our right to life, trade and development, violates our most basic human rights.”

President Tatar expressed his gratitude to officials of the Republic of Türkiye for hosting the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

Source: The Presidency of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 

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