President Tatar assesses UK Parliamentarian Iain Duncan Smith’s call for direct flights between the TRNC and the UK.
“The call by a prominent British political figure such as Iain Duncan Smith for direct flights to be initiated between the TRNC and the UK is a manifestation of rational politics from a human rights perspective, that is far from dogmatic obsessions”.
President Ersin Tatar has welcomed the message from UK Parliamentarian, former minister and Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith who called for direct flights to be initiated between the TRNC and the UK, in a recent video message.
President Tatar said in a written statement:
“I wholeheartedly welcome the call by UK Parliamentarian Iain Duncan Smith of the ruling Conservative Party, in support of the initiation of direct flights between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the United Kingdom. This call is a manifestation of rational politics from a human rights perspective, that is far from dogmatic obsessions.
Direct flights will not only go beyond facilitating hundreds-of-thousands of Turkish Cypriots and British nationals who live in the TRNC and the UK, who are demanding to travel directly between the two countries but it will also cut down air fares and travel time. This understanding will naturally facilitate the enhancement of historical, social, cultural and economic relations between the two countries, and it will also address the fundamental human rights issue.
As one of the guarantor powers, the UK has important obligations and must fulfil these obligations with an objective understanding.
The UK continues to have the respective rights and privileges as one of the guarantor powers, with two Sovereign Base Areas on the Island of Cyprus, in accordance with the articles enshrined in the founding treaties of the 1960 partnership republic. Our belief is that it is the historical and humane obligation of the UK to act in a responsible manner when making political determinations with regards to the grievances and restrictions imposed unjustly on the Turkish Cypriot People over the past 60 years, which have now reached unconscionable levels.
As the Turkish Cypriot People who have inherent equal rights in Cyprus, our legitimate expectation from the UK is for respect to be shown to our sovereignty which would also be in compliance with the fundamental principles of western democracy. The UK knows exactly what took place in Cyprus and it is high time they take action to spearhead an end to the outdated and inhumane restrictions which have been imposed on the Turkish Cypriot People for many decades. This restriction, which has denied Turkish Cypriots the right to have direct flights to their own country, is also a clear violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948”.
In this context, as a diplomat who should know well the realities on the Island of Cyprus, British High Commissioner İrfan Siddiq should be supportive for Britain to take the appropriate political stance to remove the unjust restrictions which have been imposed on Turkish Cypriots in violation of international law for many decades.
The new terminal building of Ercan Airport, which is contemplated to be in service soon, will comply with international civil aviation requirements and satisfy all standards, thus also making our airport technically better prepared for direct flights.
We have not forgotten the promises made in 2004, during the Annan Plan period, by international actors including the EU of which the UK was a member, to end the inhuman isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People. It had been promised that the isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People would come to an end if they voted in favour of a settlement in the referendum, and that the Greek Cypriot Side would be penalised if they voted against the solution. Despite accepting the UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan by 65 per cent, the Turkish Cypriot People were left out in the cold, whilst the Greek Cypriot Side, who rejected the plan by 76 per cent, were rewarded a week later with EU membership. In fact, despite the passing of 19 years, none of the promises to effectively end our isolation has been honoured. The current position is that, for both political consistency and the credibility and legitimacy of the western democracy, it is essential for policies to be formulated that can help facilitate mechanisms in order to honour the promises they made to end our isolation.
As I always underline, our position as the Turkish Cypriot Side, is for a realistic and sustainable settlement to be based on the sovereign equality and equal international status of the two Sides which co-exist as good neighbours in a cooperative relationship.
If the Greek Cypriot Side responds positively to our proposals, there can be a cooperation mechanism on a win-win basis that can undoubtedly benefit not only our island particularly in the areas of energy and improving the daily lives of People on both Sides, but also the entire region.”