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Addressing the Cyprus issue at a symposium earlier in the week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Serdar Denktaş said, “The whole world should know, that Turkish Cypriots have established their own state by protecting their ownership rights from Greek Cypriot occupation forces.”
Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün has said that it is no longer possible for Turkish Cypriots to be considered equal partners with Greek Cypriots, given that official Greek Cypriot documents have recently categorised Turkish Cypriots as an ethnic minority.
Speaking yesterday (16th August) during the ceremony to commemorate the liberation of Lefke as part of the Second Peace Operation, Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün said that Turkish Cypriots recognise the importance of the ‘Happy Peace Operation’. He said, “We celebrated our liberation with enthusiasm in the ceremonies organised in Serdarlı, Gazimağusa and Lefke. We also burst into tears before the graves of the people that were brutally killed, including innocent and defenceless children, women and elderly, in Muratağa Atlılar and Sandallar”. Özgürgün added that commemorating the Second Peace Operation, which began on 14 August 1974 and lasted for three days, brings excitement and enthusiasm because it crowned them with victory.
Stating that Turkey has put forth its stance towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Turkish Minister of National Defence Fikri Işık stressed that Turkey will continue in its own way, and will not make any concessions over the Turkish Cypriot people’s national interests in Cyprus.
In a joint statement about the Cyprus Conference, former negotiators Osman Ertuğ and Ergün Olgun said that the international community is aware where responsibility lies for the failure of the efforts to reach a federal solution in Cyprus. The uncompromising attitude of the Greek Cypriot side has been noted in the related reports of the UN Secretary-General and has been witnessed by all the parties involved, including the UN, the EU and the UK. They also added that throughout this 50 year process, the Greek side has refused UN proposals/plans for at least 15 times, thus blocking a solution. These facts, they said, have been clearly put forward by the Greek Cypriot ex-official Nikos Rolandis.
Ertuğ and Olgun stated that the negotiations to reach a federal solution in Cyprus have now undeniably come to an end, as was witnessed by the UN, the EU and the international community. They said, “all the positions, proposals, maps and documents that had been submitted so far were taken away, and resuming the negotiations is out of the question now”.
The former negotiators also pointed out that the conference in Crans-Montana represents a historical turning point, and that the Turkish Cypriot people will now continue to live with security, equality and freedom under the shelter of the TRNC. They also expressed their belief that the focus from now on should be on “improving the country both internally and externally”.
Ertuğ and Olgun also said that the experience from the last 50 years has shown that negotiating under embargoes, isolations, restrictions and not based on real equality do not serve any purpose other than maintaining the status quo, which solely benefits the Greek Cypriot side. They said, “Even if a new process starts in the future, it will not be under the conditions imposed by the Greek Cypriot side and it will not be a process without a set ending date. It should be a process based on two equal states and with the objective of finding a way to live independently as good neighbours”
In his speech at a press conference following a meeting with the Gambian Foreign Minister, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu referred to the failed Cyprus talks and accused the Greek Cypriot side of being “insincere”.
Çavuşoğlu stated that the Greek Cypriot side continued their drilling activities in the Mediterranean, and said, “While we negotiated a solution for Cyprus, we found out that the Greek Cypriot side had brought the drilling vessel to the region to start drilling work”. The Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey have long maintained that the resources around the island should be shared by both sides.
He added that sending a drilling vessel showed the “insincere” attitude of the Greek Cypriot side towards the reunification talks that failed last week.
Çavuşoğlu stressed that they will react to the steps taken by the Greek Cypriot side. He said, “They tried to take unilateral steps, and a solution to the Cyprus problem has not been achieved because of their insincerity. We cannot ignore the unilateral steps taken by the Greek Cypriot side. We are cooperating with the Ministry of Energy on deciding what steps need to be taken. We will react to the Greek Cypriots’ unilateral actions”.
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Pictures shown are courtesy of the TRNC Public Information Office Facebook page.