The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a resolution (S/2017/70) on 26 January 2017, extending the mandate of the UN Peace Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 July 2017.
The usual reference in the resolution regarding the Greek Cypriot Administration as the “Government of Cyprus” does not reflect the realities on the Island and is unacceptable by the Turkish Cypriot side. It is clear that the Greek Cypriot Administration does not have any authority whatsoever in the North of the Island 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 should be known that as long as one of the equal sides of Cyprus is treated as a state or government and the other is treated as a community, it will not be possible to reach a fair and viable agreement on the Island.
The resolution puts on record the joint statement of 14 September 2016 referring to the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Leaders’ commitment to the negotiation process and the appreciation for efforts of the participants towards reaching a settlement who attended the Cyprus Conference held under the auspices of the United Nations in January 2017. However, the joint intention previously declared by both Leaders to the effect that a settlement ought to be reached by the end of 2016 is being overlooked. The fact that the Conference had been postponed to 2017 upon the request of the Greek Cypriot side and that the Conference broke up only after a day due to the attitude of the Greek and Greek Cypriot side is also not being put on record.
The Resolution reminds that a bi-communal, bi-zonal, settlement based on political equality is yet to be reached and underlines that the international community attributes significance to the negotiations. A general call is made for the substantive negotiations to be intensified by the sides. It ought to be underlined that the Turkish Cypriot side has fulfilled its duty in this respect. As observed in both summits which took place in Mont Pèlerin and Geneva, the Turkish Cypriot side allowed the negotiations to overflow into January 2017 for the purpose of completing the process. Therefore, it should be the Greek Cypriot side which should be specifically prompted in this respect.
The Security Council as per its previous Resolution once again calls for renewed efforts to implement all remaining confidence building measures. However no reference is made to the effect that the confidence building measures which shall have a positive impact on the daily lives of both peoples are not being realised because the Greek Cypriot side is acting irrationally and not taking the necessary steps for their realisation. In the context of the invitation made for the removal of mines located in the Buffer Zone, it should be reminded that the Turkish Cypriot proposal for the removal of all mines to be carried out in cooperation with Greek Cypriot side is still remaining but yet is still left unanswered.
As typical of every year, appreciation for the previous reports of the UN Secretary General concerning the UNFICYP (S/2017/20) is welcomed in the Resolution. In this context, unfortunately the issue of the isolations imposed upon Turkish Cypriots are mentioned in the Resolution as only a mere concern of the Turkish Cypriot side and have been put on record once again at the UN. Continuing to cite the restrictions which seriously affect the daily lives of the Turkish Cypriots as only a mere concern is met with dismay by the Turkish Cypriot people.
As the Turkish Cypriot side, although not a reciprocated attitude from our counterparts, we find it essential to remind that we anticipate our constructive and solution oriented efforts to be reflected in the UN Security Council Resolutions. Additionally we find it imperative to remind that we await from 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.
Lastly, given that the process has already spilled over into 2017, it is a serious omission that the Security Council has not emphasized that the settlement process cannot continue forever. We reserve our view that if such an emphasis had been made, this would not only create momentum in the process, but would also be an important reminder that it is necessary to remove the ambiguity created by the lack of settlement.