United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted Resolution 2369 (2017), on 27 July 2017, extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2018.
The reference in the resolution to the Greek Cypriot Administration as the “Government of Cyprus” does not reflect the realities on the Island and is unacceptable. It is clear that the Greek Cypriot Administration does not have any authority whatsoever in North Cyprus; the only authority in the North is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and that the Greek Cypriots do not represent the Turkish Cypriots in any manner.
We deem it beneficial to, once again, call for the end of this biased and erroneous approach displayed by the United Nations Security Council. It is clear that as long as the United Nations continues to treat one of the equal sides of Cyprus as a “state” and the other as a “community”, UN cannot be impartial. Though it is stated that the negotiations are conducted between the two equal sides, the unequal treatment of these sides outside the negotiation table by the international community, particularly the United Nations, reflects negatively on the table, thus, making it impossible to reach a fair and viable settlement on the Island.
Whereas the resolution puts on record that the Cyprus Conference, which reconvened in June 2017, with the participation of the two sides and the Guarantor powers, did not produce a result, the sides are being encouraged to sustain their commitment to a federation based on the UN parameters.
Despite the intensive and sincere efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey, the Cyprus Conference resulted in failure. This failure has demonstrated, once again, that the Greek Cypriot side is not ready to enter into any partnership on the basis of power-sharing with the Turkish Cypriot side. The United Nations, yet again, refrained from acknowledging that this recent effort has also failed due to the intransigence of the Greek Cypriot side.
The Cyprus Conference, which is the culmination of a 50 year-long negotiation process, has categorically proven that the respective positions and visions of the two sides on the resolution of the Cyprus issue are diametrically opposed. Whereas the Turkish Cypriot side, as one of the co-owners of the island, have done its utmost towards a settlement based on the equality of the two partners, the Greek Cypriot side, which perceives Cyprus as a Hellenic Island, has continued to display a hegemonic stance and rejected the UN parameter, namely the equal status of the Turkish Cypriots. In fact, the Greek Cypriot side went as far as challenging the issue of rotating presidency, which is a prerequisite of political equality.
Thus, it is inadequate to merely state in the decision that the Cyprus Conference failed to produce a settlement. UN’s refusal to confess the reasons as to the collapse of the negotiation process, sheds light on the causes behind the failure of the 50 year long negotiations. Despite the failure of the half a century old negotiation process, demonstrating that a settlement based on the current parameters is not possible, the UN continues to refrain from acknowledging this fact, thus, contributing to the continuation of the very status quo, the UN itself deems unacceptable.
In its resolution, the Security Council as per its previous resolution, calls for renewed efforts to implement all the remaining military confidence-building measures. However, no reference is made to the fact that due to Greek Cypriot side’s resistance to take the necessary steps, it has not been possible to implement the confidence building measures, which would facilitate the daily lives of both peoples on the island. As for the call on the removal of mines located in the Buffer Zone, the Turkish Cypriot proposal to do so in cooperation with Greek Cypriot side remains unreciprocated by the latter.
The resolution, typically, welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s latest report on UNFICYP (S/2017/20). Unfortunately, the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people is, once again, referred to as a mere Turkish Cypriot “concern”. Continuing to cite the restrictions that seriously affect the daily lives of the Turkish Cypriot people as only a mere “concern” is a demonstration of UN’s one-sided approach which constantly abstains from criticising the Greek Cypriot side.
Whilst the Greek Cypriot side bears the sole responsibility for lack of settlement, it is unjust that the Turkish Cypriot side is forced to live under inhuman isolation. At this point, we expect that the UN adopt an approach, which will allow for the Turkish Cypriot people to take their rightful place in the international arena from which they have been unfairly secluded for so many years. It is high time that the United Nations calls upon the international community to immediately lift the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people.
We hope that the UN will not repeat its mistake from 2004 and will reflect in the Security Council resolutions the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is not ready for a partnership based on the political and sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot side and that a settlement based on current parameters is not possible.
Lastly, we consider that it is important for the sides to begin talking about alternative methods of settlement without further delay. This is vital for the security and stability of our island and the region.