June 8, 2023

TRNC President Ersin Tatar

Statement of President Ersin Tatar on the 19th anniversary of the separately held simultaneous referenda on the UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan.

“A new national policy that is based on the sovereign equality and equal international status of the two Sides is being followed, which is based on the realities of the island and takes into account the failures of the past for an equality-based settlement because of the Greek Cypriot mindset”

President Ersin Tatar issued a written statement on the 19th anniversary of the separately held simultaneous referenda on the UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan, where he called on the UN, EU, and other international actors to honour their promises and to end the unjust isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People.

On April 24, 2004, a referenda had been separately and simultaneously held for a solution to the Cyprus issue following decades of negotiations which was accepted by the Turkish Cypriot Side by 64 percent, and rejected by 76 percent by the Greek Cypriot Side. Despite this, the Greek Cypriot side acceded to the EU in the name of the whole island, whilst Turkish Cypriot People continue to be isolated.  President Tatar has made a fresh call on the international community to acknowledge the inhumane isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People and to take effective action to put an end to it.

The statement of President Ersin Tatar is as follows:

“A separately held simultaneous referenda on the Annan Plan that had come about through decades of arduous negotiations under the auspices of the UN was put to a separately held simultaneous referenda on April 24, 2004.  During that period, numerous promises had been made that “the side that votes in favour of the settlement shall be rewarded, whilst the side that rejects it shall be penalised”.  The Greek Cypriot Side flatly rejected the settlement, which was accepted by the Turkish Cypriot People supported by the Republic of Türkiye. Despite this outcome, the Greek Cypriot side were made EU members in the name of the whole island, and the Turkish side continues to face the inhumane isolation and restrictions.  Not one of the promises to end our isolation, including direct trade, direct flights and putting an end to the sports isolation, and allowing our youth to participate in prominent international sports tournaments under their own identity, has come to fruition. The isolation is tantamount to the persecution of the Turkish Cypriot People, who have inherent equal rights emanating from history and international agreements, and are co-owners of this island with exactly the same status as that of Greek Cypriots.

Despite this inhumane situation, injustice, and embargoes on my People, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has continued to grow and develop, and the Turkish Cypriot People have been exposed to the real face of those who were the defenders of the Annan Plan, who delivered nothing but empty promises.

Furthermore, it has once again been proven, as seen in the Annan Plan of 2004 and in Crans-Montana in 2017, that it is not possible to reach a federal-based solution which aims to abolish the active and effective Guarantee of Motherland Türkiye, removing Turkish forces from the island of Cyprus who are the real defenders of peace, and to turn the Turkish Cypriot People into a minority of the Greek Cypriots.

Following decades of arduous negotiations for an equality-based settlement which the Greek Cypriot Side have rejected at least 15 times because of the lack of an overarching interest and refusal to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot People, it is time to open a new page for Cyprus. A settlement that is based on the existence of two separate sovereign States that will benefit the island of Cyprus and the region was put forward by us for the first time in the presence of the UN Secretary-General, the Greek Cypriot Side, and the three Guarantor powers at the 5+UN informal meeting that was held in April 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Our new national policy has been further strengthened following the historical call made by the Republic of Türkiye President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his address at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly on September 20, 2022,  where he invited the international community to formally recognise the TRNC.   The acceptance of the TRNC as an observer member at the Organisation of Turkic States under its constitutional name has also added to tangible outcomes for the TRNC, due to our new two State policy and vision.

The Annan Plan remains in the past and has taken its place on the dusty shelves of history.  We will not step back from the new national policy which is realistic, practical, and which provides for a sustainable basis, that we are determinately putting forward together with Motherland Türkiye and supported by a majority of the Turkish Cypriot People.

On the anniversary of the Annan Plan referenda, we are compelled once again to point out that the promises by the UN, EU, US, and many other international actors to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People continues not to be fulfilled.

During the Annan Plan period, promises were made that if the Greek Cypriots voted against, and the Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the solution plan, the isolation would be ended on my People. There were many stipulations with regards to the commencement of direct trade, among others.  While the then-late UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had stated that “the Turkish Cypriot vote has undone any rationale for pressuring and isolating them”, his then Special Envoy, Alvaro De Soto, had also promised that the isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People would be ended if they accepted the settlement plan. 

The then EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Günter Verheugen, had not only stated that direct flights would be started, but he also said that the economic isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People will be ended and that the Greek Cypriot Side would face international pressure in the event the Turkish Cypriots voted in favour, and the Greek Cypriots voted against the Annan Plan.

The then US Secretary of State, Powell, also stated that the isolation on Turkish Cypriots will be ended in such an outcome. The US Secretary of State Coordinator, Weston, stated that if the Turkish Side accepted, and the Greek Cypriot Side rejected the Plan, the US would “review” its policy on Cyprus. The US Secretary of State Spokesperson, Boucher, had promised that the “Turkish Cypriots will not be left out in the cold”.

It is with deep regret that, despite the passing of 19 years following the Annan Plan referenda, none of the promises have effectively come to fruition. We are compelled to express our disappointment at every anniversary of the Annan Plan referenda and to expose the fact that there has been no deliverance except broken promises to the Turkish Cypriot People.

My call to the UN, EU, and the US, is to stop supporting the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo, who have only paid lip service to wanting a settlement but always rejected any equality-based solution, and to effectively implement the promises they made to the Turkish Cypriot people during the Annan Plan period in 2004.”



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