President Ersin Tatar participated in the main parade held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
“The TRNC will be carried into the future as an eternal torch of our independence, freedom, and liberty”
President Ersin Tatar addressed the main parade held to mark the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that was held at Dr. Fazıl Küçük Boulevard in Lefkoşa on Wednesday 15th November 2023.
President Tatar began his address by welcoming Vice-President of the Republic of Türkiye, Cevdet Yılmaz – who is paying a visit to the TRNC to take part in the celebrations as a representative of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and other officials and political party representatives from the country, and political party officials from the Republic of Azerbaijan. TRNC officials and members of the military, civil groups, and the public were also in attendance at the parade.
“I welcome you all with love and respect on this very important day, where we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” President Tatar said at the start of his address.
“The Turkish Cypriot People have not reached these days of freedom easily, and we suffered acts of genocide and massacres, however we never gave up and always looked to the future with hope,” he added.
Paying tribute to Founding President Rauf Raif Denktaş, the President added: “Exactly 40 years ago, our Founding President, Rauf Denktaş, read out the declaration in Parliament, proclaiming our independent Republic, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, to the whole world and as a historical record, as the symbol of the political will of the Turkish Cypriots to live as a free people in their own State”. He added that “the foundations of this Turkish state, that is located in the eastern Mediterranean, has become deeply rooted and its existence cannot be denied”.
President Tatar, who said he wanted to send a message to the international community, said: “The TRNC will be carried from generation to generation, into the future as an eternal torch of our independence, freedom and liberty.”
Stating that the Ottoman period in Cyprus continued uninterrupted for 352 years, President Tatar explained that a “new era began in Cyprus when Britain unilaterally annexed the island of Cyprus that had been leased to them”. He said the “Turkish Cypriot people confronted the efforts of the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo to turn Cyprus into a Hellenic island under the oppressive rule of Britain,” and added that the “Turkish Cypriot People never surrendered, and pursued their struggle to co-exist as inherent equals, whilst maintaining uninterrupted contacts with Türkiye”.
President Tatar stated that the Turkish Cypriot people “continued their national struggle in difficult times,” adding that “with the establishment of the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT) on August 1, 1958, the Turkish Cypriot People continued to defend their legitimate rights and survival as an independent People with rights to self-determination.
“Motherland Türkiye also opposed the aspiration of the Greek Cypriots to unite Cyprus to Greece (ENOSIS), and eventually, the Turkish Cypriot People took their place as co-founders of the partnership Republic of Cyprus, which was established in 1960,” he said.
President Tatar said that “we learned later that the EOKA terrorist organisation, under the leadership of Archbishop Makarios, was only interested in using this partnership republic as a “springboard to achieving ENOSIS”. Explaining that the Turkish Cypriots were “expelled from the state apparatus of the Republic of Cyprus by force of arms in December 1963 which effectively destroyed the republic,” President Tatar stated that “there were island-wide attacks staged by the Greek-Greek Cypriot forces and EOKA terrorist members against our People from 1963 to 1974”. President Tatar explained that “on July 15, 1974, a coup d’état had been staged by the Greek junta, and the ‘Hellenic Republic of Cyprus’ was declared. . .this was the last straw, and Türkiye exercised her right as a Guarantor power and undertook the Cyprus Peace Operation. . .”
President Tatar said that the Greek Cypriot Side had been recognised as the sole government of the island which started with an “unjust UN resolution,” that was passed in 1964 despite the international treaties that had formed the partnership republic, which had come about through the exercise of the equal inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriot People and the Greek Cypriot People. “Since 1963, the Turkish Cypriot People have effectively been governing themselves as a State,” President Tatar said. “The Republic of Cyprus has been hijacked by the Greek Cypriot Side, which has no democratic legitimacy to represent Turkish Cypriot People,” he said.
Explaining that “a new page has been opened in Cyprus,” President Tatar said: “Numerous negotiation processes were held under a federal basis which all ended with the collapse of the processes due to the continuing mentality of the Greek Cypriot Side in not wanting to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot People. Most remembered is the UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan, that was put to a separate and simultaneous referendum between the two Sides in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot Side rejected the plan by 76 percent, whilst the Turkish Cypriot Side voted in favour of the settlement plan by 65 percent. A new round of negotiations for a federal settlement collapsed again in Crans-Montana in 2017.” President Tatar stated that the Greek Cypriot Side had been accepted as a member state to the EU, just one week after rejecting the Annan Plan in 2004, whilst the Turkish Cypriot Side, who had been promised by many international actors that the isolation and restrictions on them would be ended, were left out in the cold. “We continue to wait for the international community to honour their promises to end the isolation on us,” he said.
President Tatar said: “We as the Turkish Cypriot Side have stated, following my election as President in 2020, that the time has come to think outside the box, and to open a new page for the Island of Cyprus. A settlement can be reached that is based on the equal inherent rights of the two Sides, namely their sovereign equality and equal international status.” President Tatar stated that “federal based negotiations have, for more than half-a-century, been tried, failed and exhausted”. The President remarked that a settlement can be reached that is based on the “cooperative relationship” of the two States which he said “is a realistic and sustainable basis”.
President Tatar paid tribute to Founding President Rauf Raif Denktaş and his colleagues, as well as Türkiye’s late Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and their staff of the time. President Tatar also stated that he “remembered with respect” the late Prime Minister of the Republic of Türkiye Bülent Ecevit and his Deputy Necmettin Erbakan – who had ordered the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974.
Stressing that “the Turkish Cypriot People have been governing themselves for the past 60 years,” President Tatar said “We are today celebrating the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of our State, the TRNC” adding: “The realities and facts on the ground need to be accepted by the international community, if there is going to be a settlement.” Emphasising “this settlement has to be based on the cooperative relationship of two States,” President Tatar said. “From this point on, we must never retract from the two States policy; a federal settlement would be the beginning of the end of the Turkish Cypriot People.”
Referring to the historical call of President Erdoğan during his addresses at the 77th and 78th sessions of the UN General Assembly where he invited the international community to formally recognise the TRNC, President Tatar said: “We are very fortunate to have the full support of our Motherland, the Republic of Türkiye. . .President Erdoğan has made important calls with regards to the recognition of the TRNC, and for an end to the unjust isolation and restrictions on the Turkish Cypriot People.” He said, “these calls have strengthened the national cause of the Turkish Cypriot People”.
President Tatar stated: “We know very well what is happening in Palestine today, as a people who suffered similar forms of violence and atrocities in these lands many years ago,” and added that for this reason, the active and effective guarantees of Motherland Türkiye and the presence of the Turkish forces “will always be of vital importance for the Turkish Cypriot people”. President Tatar emphasised that the Turkish Cypriot People will “never accept, concede or bow to the demands for zero troops, zero guarantees after what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine and Palestine”.
Stating that with the two-state policy, “we are being invited to international summits. We have visited Baku, Azerbaijan, and Tashkent, in Uzbekistan. These are the fruitful outcomes of the hard work we are putting in, as part of our goal to gain more acknowledgement and recognition of our existence, which is being recorded in history”. He said the “struggle for equal treatment is not an easy path, but we will continue with persistence and patience”.
President Tatar said he wished to “salute the President of Azerbaijan, İlham Aliyev,” adding that “the Turkish Cypriot People, who are a part of the Turkic world, celebrated with joy the victory of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh”.
President Tatar stated that he had conveyed cooperation proposals to the Greek Cypriot Side, but stated that “due to the Greek Cypriot hegemonic mentality, we are not even able to cooperate on issues that will be of benefit to both sides”.
Lastly, President Tatar referred to the Yiğitler-Pile road issue, stating that “the long-standing desire of the Turkish Cypriot Side has always been to develop the road for purely humanitarian purposes for our citizens living in Pile. They want to end our existence through a series of ploys. We are facing a mentality which envisages entering our borders, and we were unfortunately confronted with the multilateral stance of the UN.”
President Tatar ended his speech by wishing everybody a Happy Republic Day, which he said is being celebrated at the same time as the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye.