BY DAILY SABAH WITH AA
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar said on Monday: “If there is to be an agreement in Cyprus, there must be a sovereign Turkish state in the north. Without a sovereign Turkish state, we can never pursue this policy, our national interests and our national goals.”
Tatar was speaking with an Anadolu Agency correspondent regarding his visit to New York and the Cyprus issue.
Stating that the government developed a new policy after he was elected president in October 2020, Tatar said an agreement in Cyprus can only be based on sovereign equality and the cooperation of two states living side by side. He also said he has shared his views with all his interlocutors.
Reiterating that the TRNC presented its new vision of a two-state solution in Cyprus to the United Nations in April 2021 in Geneva, Tatar said that in all the negotiations held on a federal basis, the goodwill of the Turkish side was exhausted and the Greek Cypriot side was devoid of sincerity.
Pointing out that the Greeks are trying to extend their sovereignty to the TRNC, Tatar emphasized that it is not possible for the Turkish Cypriots to continue their existence on the island if Türkiye’s guarantee is lifted and the Turkish soldiers withdraw from the Island.
Tatar said, “In order to maintain our existence as a people, we need to register our vested sovereignty rights stemming from the international agreement.”
Pointing out that although the Turks said “yes” to the Annan Plan in 2004 and the Greeks said “no,” yet the Greeks were still made a member of the European Union, Tatar stated that with this step, the possible solutions in Cyprus became more difficult.
“If there is to be an agreement in Cyprus, there must be a sovereign Turkish state in the north. Without a sovereign Turkish state, we will never be able to pursue this policy, our national interests and national goals. Therefore, we have to be determined. Even though the international community is against us, we are part of our homeland Türkiye. And we have to continue this policy with the support of some friendly countries. Without the support of Türkiye, we will never be able to maintain our presence here,” he said.
Noting that if sovereign equality between the parties is ensured, peace and tranquility can continue in Cyprus, Tatar underlined that this will contribute to both Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
Tatar said he will meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sept. 24 or 25 in New York.
Noting that both the TRNC and the authorities of Türkiye have explained the facts about Cyprus to their international counterparts, Tatar mentioned that such environments, like the U.N. General Assembly, provide a great opportunity to share these facts with leaders of other countries.
Pointing out that Guterres is aware of the Cyprus issue, Tatar said: “U.N. Secretary-General Guterres, U.N. parameters depend on Security Council resolutions (on Cyprus). We say that those principles are already outdated, maybe more than 50 years have passed. Since then, there have been great changes both in politics and in the economy. Because of this reason, we can discuss how we can create a new politics and order.”
Stressing that he will also hold meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the Turkish delegation in New York, Tatar said that they would like to meet with Guterres and officials of other countries after that.
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N.’s Annan plan to end the longstanding dispute.
Today, the Turkish side supports a solution based on the equal sovereignty of the two states on the island. On the other hand, the Greek side wants a federal solution based on the hegemony of the Greeks.