REGARDING THE STATEMENT OF THE GREEK CYPRIOT MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON HISTORICAL ARTIFACTS
ÖZERSAY: “THE INTERNATIONAL ACTORS WHO TOLERATE THE GREEK CYPRIOTS ARE ACTUALLY THE RESPONSIBLE ONES.”
“THEY ENCOUNTERED A SITUATION WHERE THEY COULD NOT HOLD AN EVENT IN A RECENTLY RESTORED CULTURAL HERITAGE SITE FINANCED BY THEMSELVES.”
“THE TURKISH CYPRIOT PEOPLE REPEATEDLY FACE THIS MENTALITY IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE.”
The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay stated that the urge to complicate Turkish Cypriot people’s daily lives and to prevent our right to be part of the international community has unfortunately become a chronic characteristic of the Greek Cypriot establishment. He also noted that this is a consequence of the tolerance shown to the Greek Cypriot side by the international community.
Özersay: “The tolerance shown to the Greek Cypriot side by the international community is now challenging the international community itself. They encountered a situation in which they could not hold an event in a recently restored historical building financed by themselves. The mentality exemplified in this situation is repeatedly experienced by the Turkish Cypriots in every aspect of life.”
In his statement to the Cyprus Turkish News Agency, Özersay commented on the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister’s recent call made to foreign mission representatives not to visit historical sites located in the TRNC, alleging that these historical sites are used illegally.
Özersay pointed out that the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, responsible for renewing and restoring historical artifacts as part of the cultural heritage of the island, has successfully concluded many projects both in the TRNC and South Cyprus. He continued by stating that ‘’as the Government as well as the Deputy Prime Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC, we appreciate the work done by the Committee.” Nevertheless, he noted that the approach of the Greek Cypriot side which implies that they have the sole right to use such artifacts on the island despite the fact that all the restoration works are carried out bi-communally is an example of an unacceptable mentality and is worrisome.
‘’AN OLD-FASHIONED MENTALITY “
Özersay said that “With this approach, how we reach to a solution in Cyprus is no longer important as it is rather difficult to look to the future in confidence and establish a healthy dialogue. The Greek Cypriot side has to abandon this mentality. Trying to impose their political and legal positions upon us or the international community is an old-fashioned mentality. This approach needs to be abandoned as soon as possible. This is an important aspect concerning the future of both communities on the island.’’
‘’THE URGE TO COMPLICATE LIFE FOR TURKISH CYPRIOTS HAS BECOME A CHRONIC CHARACTERISTIC OF THE GREEK CYPRIOT ESTABLISHMENT”
Referring to the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister’s statement to the effect that he wasn’t aware of who sent the note verbale, Kudret Özersay said that this is an example of tensions among the Greek Cypriot institutions. Özersay: “If such an initiative has been taken without the knowledge of the authorized and elected person, we could rightly say that the urge to complicate the life for Turkish Cypriots has become a chronic characteristic of the Greek Cypriot establishment”.
“SINCERER EFFORTS ARE REQUIRED’’
The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay stated that more sincere efforts are not only required for a comprehensive settlement, but also required for enhancing the dialogue and the collaboration between the two sides.
Özersay noted that the idea of a unitary state has been so indigenized by the Greek Cypriot side that power sharing with the Turkish Cypriots becomes a more aggravating notion. This is the reason why we are required more sincere efforts.
“INTERNATIONAL ACTORS HAVE A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY”
Noting that international actors have to assume a greater role, Özersay continued by asserting that the international community has to remind the Greek Cypriots that this perception is not a normal and realistic one.
Özersay: “If the international community continues to tolerate this perception by letting it be perceived as normal, the Greek Cypriot side will continue to take this abnormal practice for granted, paving the way for this chronic mentality to deepen even more and make it harder to revert in the future. For this reason, solely blaming the Greek Cypriot side is not a solution. The international community has to regulate its approach and position.
THE TOLERANCE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS SHOWN IS NOW CHALLENGING THEM.
The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay indicated that the tolerance the international community has shown to the Greek Cypriot side is now challenging them to the instance where they were denied to hold an event in the same historical artifact which they financed the restoration process. Özersay affirmed that ‘’this instance the international community has come across is an example of the mentality the Turkish Cypriots encounter repeatedly in every aspect of life so we hope that facing this situation helps the international community to understand the unjust treatment the Turkish Cypriot people encounter.’’
THE INTERNATIONAL ACTORS MUST REVISE THEIR POSITION AND ATTITUDE
Özersay noted that the situation as it stands today, should not be linked to the deadlock of the Cyprus problem, instead it should be linked with the international communities’ approach and tolerance to the Greek Cypriot side. He continued: ‘’If you accord to them a status which is not legitimate; tolerate their attempts to exercise power and authority over Turkish Cypriots, this is an inevitable outcome. Then, even on the most humanitarian issues like cultural heritage and arts, there arises ethnic based, disproportionate obstacles.”
‘’IGNORING ONE OF THE TWO AUTHORITIES OR EMPOWERING ONE OVER THE OTHER IS WHAT BROUGHT US TO THIS POINT’’
Özersay lastly noted that “everyone, especially the international actors, should look in to this example and revise their tolerant attitude as well as their position and behavior towards the Greek Cypriot side. There are two sides on this island. Ignoring one of the two authorities or empowering one over the other is what brought us to this point. I believe, international actors are mainly responsible for this”