Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu made statements to Turkish News Agency regarding the issue of security and guarantees ahead of the five-party Cyprus Conference set to take place in Geneva.
Stating that he would like the negotiation process, ongoing between the two sides in Cyprus, to culminate in a settlement, he also emphasized that this does not mean the issue of security and guarantees will lose its significance for the Turkish Cypriots. Ertuğruloğlu went on to state that the pains of the past, as well as the current atmosphere of distrust on the Island in particular and the region in general, necessitate the continuation of Turkey’s active and effective guarantee on the Island.
Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu further stated that “the Turkish Cypriot people only trust Turkey’s guarantee, and this sensitivity of our people should be taken into account. The current guarantee system can be adapted to present circumstances without being undermined, however in the case that an agreement between the two sides, the continuation of the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces on the Island, as well as Turkey’s right to unilaterally intervene will remain essential.”
Expressing that he does not condone the approach that “one side’s sense of security cannot constitute a threat to the other side”, the Minister reminded that in 1963 and the ensuing years, the Greek Cypriots have demonstrated ill faith by attempting to change the constitutional order and usurping the rights of their equal partner, the Turkish Cypriots, in response to which Turkey’s unilateral right to intervene was invoked. He added that it was thanks to this intervention that peace was able to be restored on the Island. The Minister also mentioned that by ignoring the realities and allowing to be put into question the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance, which maintain their validity and international legitimacy to this day, the Turkish Cypriots may suffer irreversible consequences. He also reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot people will not accept a settlement plan which undermines the active and effective guarantee of Turkey.
Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu, who denied the allegations suggesting that the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance are outdated and against EU norms, pointed out that the trust between the two sides of the Island has not been achieved enough to change, restructure or abolish the guarantee system. He also indicated that we owe the current peaceful atmosphere on the Island to these Treaties and further adding that the grave developments in the region do not permit such a change. Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu proceeded with his statement as follows; “In order for the guarantee system to be effective, Motherland Turkey must protect its right of unilateral intervention and in order for this to have an actual meaning, Turkey must maintain its right to keep its troops on the Island. It is not possible for the Turkish Cypriots to give their consent to an agreement which does not permit the presence of Turkish troops on the Island and does not give Motherland Turkey its right of unilateral intervention.”
Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu, who stated that any position suggesting a compromise on this subject will only serve the Greek Cypriots’ ambitions, also pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side’s sole aim is to force Turkish troops out of the Island and cease Turkey’s guarantee. He also indicated that this intention is expressed on every platform. Minister Ertuğruloğlu stated that he is pleased to observe that Motherland Turkey also shares the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots regarding their safety. He also highlighted that the Turkish Cypriots need Turkey’s guarantee more than ever and no arrangement which prevents Turkey’s right of unilateral intervention will satisfy the Turkish Cypriots.