The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a resolution on 26 July 2016, extending the mandate of the UN Peace Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2017.
The reference to the Greek Cypriot Administration as the ‘Government of Cyprus’ in the UN Security Council resolution does not reflect the reality on the Island. Referring to the Greek Cypriot Administration as a ‘government’ is not an acceptable definition for the Turkish Cypriot side, as the Greek Cypriot Administration has in fact usurped the legitimate government by force of arms since 1963. It goes without saying that the Greek Cypriot Administration, which governs and represents the south part of the Island, does not have any authority in the North of the Island and that the Greek Cypriots do not represent the Turkish Cypriots.
While the resolution in question states that the mandate of UNFICYP is extended with the consent of the so-called ‘Government of Cyprus’, the Turkish Cypriot side is never included in the appointment procedures of the authorities which shall serve in UNFICYP on the Island. In its UNFICYP resolution, the United Nations Security Council disregards the fact that there are two equal sides in Cyprus and only seeks the consent of the Greek Cypriot side. We would like to take this opportunity to, once again, call on the relevant UN authorities to end this seriously inadequate, biased and improper approach. It should be known that as long as one of the equal sides of Cyprus is treated as a state and the other is treated as a community, it will not be possible to reach an acceptable fair and sustainable settlement on the Island.
Furthermore, the resolution expressed appreciation for the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders’ joint statements of 15 May 2016, based on the joint declaration adopted on 11 February 2014, along with welcoming the progress made in the negotiations. However, the omission of any reference in the resolution to the joint declaration by the two leaders to reach a settlement by the end of the year 2016 constitutes a manifest shortcoming.
We consider it a positive fact that, similar to the previous Report, the present Report has referred to the importance attributed by the international community to the negotiation process, by highlighting that a bi-zonal, bi-communal comprehensive settlement based on political equality has not yet been reached. In this framework, a call is made in the Report for both sides to intensify substantive negotiations. It should be clearly noted that the Turkish Cypriot side has maintained its commitment in this regard. It is, therefore, not the Turkish Cypriot side which needs to be encouraged, but rather the Greek Cypriot side.
In its latest resolution and as per its previous resolution, the Security Council calls for renewed efforts to implement all remaining confidence-building measures. However, no reference is made as to why the confidence-building measures have not been realised or how the Greek Cypriot side is acting irrationally and not taking the necessary steps for their realisation. We find it useful to hereby underline that in order for the mutually agreed confidence building measures to be implemented, the Greek Cypriot side should portray a similar approach to the Turkish Cypriots and put forward constructive proposals and a compromising approach. There can be no doubt that confidence building measures shall have a significant impact on reaching a potential settlement and implementing it.
With respect to the status of the buffer zone, only references related to the military status quo were included in the resolution. We note that no call has been made to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the university and casinos which they operate in the village of Pyla without permission; this reflects an unbalanced approach to the issue.
Regarding the removal of mines located in the buffer zone, it should be noted that the Turkish Cypriot proposal for removing the mines, which was to be carried out in cooperation with Greek Cypriot side, has still yet to be answered.
As is the custom, appreciation for the previous reports of the UN Secretary General concerning the UNFICYP (S/2016/598) and (S/2016/599) are welcomed. In this context, it is unfortunate that the issue of the TRNC’s isolation is mentioned in this resolution only of concern to the Turkish Cypriot side, despite the fact that they had been put on UN record. Continuing to cite the restrictions which seriously affect the daily lives of the Turkish Cypriots as only a mere concern has caused dismay for the Turkish Cypriot people.
As the Turkish Cypriot side, we find it essential to remind all parties that we anticipate that our constructive and focused efforts towards finding a solution will be reflected in the UN Security Council resolutions. Additionally, we find it imperative to remind all parties that we wait for the UN Security Council to adopt an approach which will place the Turkish Cypriot people, who have unfairly been secluded from the international arena for years, in their rightful position.