BY DAILY SABAH
Türkiye on Saturday rejected an EU statement in which the bloc expressed concerns about the admission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) as an observer member.
“As stated in the (Organization of Turkic States) Summit Declaration, the Turkish Cypriots are an inseparable part of the Turkic world, it is their natural right to establish and develop relations with the Turkic States in every field,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said the EU’s attempts “to hinder the Turkish Cypriot people to become a respectable member of the international community, are incompatible with goodwill, and they also once again clearly reveal the hypocrisy of the Union, which has been captivated by the vicious policies of the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece.”
“A just, lasting and sustainable settlement on the Island of Cyprus can only be reached following a process that will be initiated with the reaffirmation of the inherent sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot people, which have been usurped since 1963,” it added.
The international community needs to abandon its attitude that sees the Greek Cypriot side as the sole owner of the island and recognize the TRNC, said the ministry, adding: “Türkiye, by all means, will continue to stand by the TRNC and to be the voice of the Turkish Cypriots in all international platforms.”
In a statement, the EU said: “The European Union rejects the statements by Türkiye about the acceptance of the Turkish Cypriot secessionist entity, the so-called, internationally not recognized ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,’ as an observer in the Organization of Turkic States. This decision, pending ratification of the Organization’s members, is regrettable and is contradicting the fact that several members of the Organization expressed strong support for the principle of territorial integrity and the U.N. Charter. The EU has made it repeatedly clear, including at the highest political level, that the EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law, in accordance with the respective U.N. Security Council Resolutions. Any action to facilitate or assist in any way the international recognition of the Turkish Cypriot secessionist entity severely damages efforts to create an environment conducive to resuming settlement talks under the auspices of the United Nations.”
Meanwhile, the TRNC Presidency in a statement said the EU has once again shown its biased approach.
The EU statement’s aim is to isolate the Turkish Cypriots from the world, and attach them with the Greek Cypriots under the guise of a federation, it added.
TRNC Prime Minister Ünal Üstel also condemned the EU, saying that there are two separate, sovereign states in Cyprus and this fact will be accepted by the world sooner or later.
The full recognition of TRNC cannot be prevented, the Turkish Cypriot president also said on Saturday, a day after its admission into the Organization of Turkic States as an observer state.
Responding to Greek and Greek Cypriot officials’ statements regarding the observer status, Ersin Tatar said they are “opposed to our sovereign equality and equal international status.”
He said the Turkish Cypriots would not step back from a two-state solution for the Cyprus dispute.
Earlier, Tatar welcomed the Turkic bloc’s decision, saying he has been “putting forward a vision to put an end to the persecution of my people, who have been subject to inhuman isolation for more than half a century, deprived of their inherent rights … their sovereignty and international status.”
He also thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for continuing support to Turkish Cypriots and the TRNC.
The Turkish Cypriot foreign minister said Friday his country’s admission to the Organization of Turkic States as an observer state is the gateway to full recognition.
“We consider the observer status just the beginning of the road leading to full recognition and we are very happy,” Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA) in Istanbul.
“For the first time, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has been admitted to an international organization with its official name,” he said, praising Türkiye’s role in it.
“We find Turkish President Erdoğan’s call for recognition (of TRNC) at the U.N. General Assembly in September very meaningful,” he further said.
He also thanked Çavuşoğlu and officials of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
“We look at the future with hope. As long as we are with our homeland, there is no problem that we cannot overcome,” he said.
The TRNC has become a non-member observer state of the OTS, Çavuşoğlu announced on Friday.
Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter that everything was developing “step by “step,” referring to Ankara’s efforts for the international recognization of the Turkish community in the TRNC.
The foreign minister reiterated that Türkiye stands by the TRNC.
This will be the first time the TRNC is being represented in an international organization with its constitutional name.
The TRNC is also an observer member in the Economic Cooperation Organization and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well as the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TÜRKSOY). The country is represented in 18 countries with 25 representations including Germany, the United States and Pakistan.
During his speech at the United Nations in September, Erdoğan called on the international community to “recognize the TRNC.”
The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish 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. 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.