The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2674 (2023) extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2024, for a period of one year, has been adopted on 30 January 2023.

At the outset it should be emphasized that the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which continues to treat one side on the island as a “state” and the other side merely as a “community”, are unacceptable.

The continued ignorance of the existence of our state and the will of our people as well as the pillar principle of the consent of all parties for the functioning of the UN Peace Keeping forces in the Security Council decision, puts the existence of UNFICYP in our country in question. Moreover, the references to the consent as to the “Greek Cypriot side agrees for the extension of the mandate” discredits the reputation and the credibility of the UN.

The wording adapted in the resolution is completely detached from the realities on the ground and gives the rest of the world a misleading message by serving the interests of the Greek Cypriot side. The imposition through use of expressions such as continuation of the search for a common ground with the aim of paving the way for returning to the negotiations, as well as the resumption of official negotiations on the basis of the “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation” model, in most diplomatic terms, is a great disrespect towards the will of the Turkish Cypriot people.

Talks between the two sides on the basis of the “federation” model has collapsed for good in 2017 when the Greek Cypriot side left the negotiation table. The Security Council’s insistence on this exhausted model which even the United Nations Secretary-General himself refrains from mentioning in his reports and is now defunct for the Turkish Cypriot side, is unacceptable. Such an approach pursues no other purpose than serving the interests of the Greek Cypriot side, which aims at keeping the Turkish Cypriot people under isolation and disconnected from the rest of world for an indefinite time. Unlike previous terms, the decision to extend the mandate of the United Nations on the island for a period of one year instead of six months is a direct obstacle put in place to maintain the present status-quo.

The only realistic solution on the island today is for the two existing States to come together on the basis of their sovereign equality and equal international status to reach an agreement to live side by side. At this stage, members of the UN Security Council should stop ignoring the existing realities and accept the fact that there are two separate peoples and two separate States on the island. Our expectation from the Security Council is to adopt a new approach by acknowledging the existing realities on the ground and note that there is no common ground for the commencement of the same type of negotiations between the two sides. We also expect the Security Council to review its outdated resolutions which result in disconnecting the Turkish Cypriot people from the rest of the world.

A contradiction in the resolution is the reference to international law to address the humanitarian issues such as irregular migration, which requires international solidarity. It is unacceptable that the Turkish Cypriot side is kept out of the equation on sensitive issues that require international cooperation, being excluded from international community and international law for years due to the Greek Cypriot side’s obstructionist policies and the reluctance of the international community. For this reason, it is a real dilemma to refer to international law on the one hand while refraining from cooperating with the Turkish Cypriot side on the other.

The fact that the report makes no reference to the isolation inflicted upon the Turkish Cypriot people proves that we are right in our observation that the United Nations Security Council has lost sight of the realities on the ground. Exaggerated and misleading wording so as to expressing satisfaction with the increase in “intra-island trade” amounts to nothing but serving the strengthening of the obstacles for the Turkish Cypriot people for integrating with the rest of the world through direct trade.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, with its initiative regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş, which has become the symbol of the status quo, made a serious opening within the framework of international law. The Turkish Cypriot people regretfully condemn the threatening statements in the resolution, claiming that our steps regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş may prompt a response from the Security Council. We would like to emphasize once again that no one can have a right to say over the territory belonging to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and no one can prevent the acts by the TRNC concerning its own territory. We are determined to continue our policy regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş within the framework we have already announced and our initiatives in this direction will continue in the upcoming period.

Members of the Security Council openly serve the policies of the Greek Cypriot side which tries to prevent the Greek Cypriots from returning to their properties. The fenced-off area of Maraş is an area within the territory and sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and like other countries, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will never accept transferring the control of its own territory to an international organization. Instead of making threats, the Security Council should support our steps in order to contribute to reconciliation on the island.

Rather than criticising the unilateral hydrocarbon activities of the Greek Cypriot side, which only serve to escalate tension and create instability in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Security Council opted to link the revenues to be obtained from hydrocarbon resources with a possible agreement on the Cyprus issue, which tantamount to ignoring the inherent rights and legitimate interests of the Turkish Cypriot people. It is unacceptable for us that the issue is degraded to a mere tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and the fact that the natural resources in and around the island belongs to both peoples on the island is overlooked.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is determined at its stance that the relationship between the United Nations and the Turkish Cypriot authorities is unsustainable and cannot continue “business as usual”. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force has been maintaining its existence and carrying out its activities in our country on the basis of our goodwill and hospitality. It is crucial that the activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force are conducted within a legal framework. We will continue to seek a common understanding in good faith.

We have come to a point where old models for an agreement on the Cyprus issue have been exhausted and the time has come for adopting a new approach on the basis of the current realities. President of Türkiye, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his speech at the 77th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly openly called the members of the Security Council to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In light of this historic call, the international community should comprehend the realities on the island without wasting further time and start making efforts to reach a solution based on the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot People.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will continue to object to the resolutions of the Security Council until the Security Council revisits its decisions and refrains from treating one side on the island as a “state” and the other as a “community”.

 

TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu received the delegation of the International Universities Council (IUC) who are holding contacts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

During the meeting, Founding Chairman of IUC Prof. Dr. Orhan Hikmet Azizoğlu informed Minister Ertuğruloğlu about the activities of the Council.  They also exchanged views on the Council organising a workshop in the TRNC in the coming period.

 

Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu is continuing his contacts in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan within the framework of 26th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), in which the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is an observer member.

Minister Ertuğruloğlu met with the foreign ministers of Türkiye, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan during a meeting in Tashkent.

Ertuğruloğlu also held bilateral meetings with his Turkish, Azerbaijani and Pakistani counterparts.

During the meetings, regional issues and development of bilateral relations were discussed.

Turkish Cypriot People have been asking for the formal recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the acknowledgment of their inherent rights, Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu stated at an Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) meeting held in Uzbekistan.

 

“This new road we have embarked upon has no turning back whether it is accepted by the Greek Cypriot side or not. Greek Cypriots and the international community must accept the undeniable reality of Cyprus, which is, there are two separate sovereign states, two separate democracies, two separate peoples,” Ertuğruloğlu said during his speech at the 26th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the ECO held in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, to which the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is an observer member.

 

Meeting the Foreign Ministers of the member states of Türkiye, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Ertuğruloğlu thanked the Government of Uzbekistan for hosting this important meeting during his speech at the Council.

 

The minister also expressed his gratitude to Khusrav Noziri, the Secretary General of the Organization of Economic Cooperation, and his team for their efforts in the successful execution of the organization.

 

Recalling that the Turkish Cypriot State has been a part of the activities and events of the ECO since 1992 and received observer member status in 2012, Ertuğruloğlu noted that the necessary contribution has always been made to the work of the organization.

 

He underlined that Turkish Cypriots have been a determined participant at the meetings of the organization at all levels, stressing that numerous successful ECO events are hosted in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

 

Emphasizing the intention to organize ECO events in our country in 2023, the minister also noted that the arrangements for this purpose have started, stating that he wants to host participants from all member states in our country and that valuable contributions are being looked forward.

 

‘New Vision of the TRNC’

 

Sharing also his views on the new vision of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the face of new dynamics both on the island and in the region, Ertuğruloğlu said that “the Cyprus issue has been on the agenda of the international community for nearly 60 years and it has been misdiagnosed.”

 

He stressed that the Cyprus issue is a “status issue.”

 

‘Time to take a step forward with a new vision’

 

“As the geography dictates, Cyprus has two owners, none of which has the right to rule the other and the only way forward requires the cooperation of both parties,” Ertuğruloğlu said, noting that both peoples on the island are sovereign equals and that any effort to tackle this issue must take this fact into account.

 

“Time to take a step forward with a new vision”

 

Stressing that there will be no mutually acceptable agreement unless the perspective of the international community to the Cyprus issue changes, the minister noted that more than five decades have been lost over the Cyprus negotiations and that it is high time to move forward with a new vision.

 

Underlining that the acceptance of the reality on the ground will certainly bring the much-needed stability, security and cooperation in and around the island of Cyprus, Ertuğruloğlu emphasized that this cooperation should be based on the sovereign equality and international equal status of the two peoples and the two states on the island.

 

He stated that the Turkish Cypriot People have been asking for the formal recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the acknowledgment of their inherent rights, namely the sovereign equality of the state and its equal international status for this reason.

 

“This new road we have embarked upon has no turning back whether it is accepted by the Greek Cypriot side or not. Greek Cypriots and the international community must accept the undeniable reality of Cyprus, which is, there are two separate sovereign states, two separate democracies, two separate peoples,” he said.

 

“I believe that we will remove the obstacles to take our rightful place in the international community,” the minister added, underlining that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus stands strong with the staunch support of the Motherland Türkiye.

 

“I sincerely hope that the member states of the ECO would expeditiously take concrete steps to engage more with the Turkish Cypriot state in every field which will help us to overcome the inhuman restrictions and embargoes imposed upon us by the Greek Cypriot side,” he concluded, noting that the Turkish Cypriot side, on many occasions in this platform, has raised the issue of unjust isolation inflicted on every aspect of the daily lives of the Turkish Cypriot People.

TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu will pay a visit to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, to attend the 26th Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Council of Ministers to be held in Tashkent on 24 January 2023.

 

As is known, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was admitted as an Observer Member Country to the Economic Cooperation Organisation in 2012 and since then, besides actively participating in the meetings, events and activities of the organisation, TRNC hosts some ECO events under the coordination of the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs at times.

 

Minister Ertuğruloğlu is also expected to attend the Ministerial Meeting and hold bilateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of some brother countries.

Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu has paid a visit to İstanbul and met with Kubaniçbek Ömüraliyev, the Secretary General of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), in his office. The said visit is the first high-level visit by the TRNC officials to the OTS Secretary General and the Secretariat.

During his courtesy visit to the newly appointed Secretary General, Minister Ertuğruloğlu expressed his contentment that our country has taken the place it deserves in the Turkish World, also stating that in the new period, our Ministry will do its part to ensure the cooperation and dialogue in every field between our country and the OTS continues to increase.

As it will be remembered, our country was accepted to the organization with its constitutional name, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as the third Observer Member State after Hungary and Turkmenistan, at the 9th OTS Summit Meeting held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on 11 November 2022, since then we have actively participated in the meetings, events and activities of the organization after the said date.

Observer Membership of the Organization of Turkic States, after the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Organization of Economic Cooperation, is the third representation gained by our country within the international organizations. Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu will return home this evening after completing his meetings in Istanbul.

This announcement is respectfully made to the public.

The Reports of the United Nations Secretary-General dated 3 January on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (S/2023/3) and on his Mission of Good Offices (S/2023/6) has recently been published.

The Report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus refers to the Status of Forces Agreement draft as the “draft framework document” which was submitted during the reporting period by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the United Nations, with a view to determining a legal context for the operations of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Our Ministry will continue to spare all efforts to reach an understanding where the existence of our State is acknowledged and our legitimate demands are satisfied. The outcome of these efforts and the respective decision to be taken by our State will be shared with public.

The Secretary-General has put an effort to reflect all the developments on the island and within the buffer zone during the reporting period. However, yet again he refrained from explicitly referring to the inhumane isolation and embargoes imposed upon the Turkish Cypriot People as he did in his previous Reports.

Not being able to openly report the outdated restrictions inflicted upon the Turkish Cypriot People, as one of the co-owners of the island, implies that the United Nations has lost touch with the realities on the ground on the island. Pointing “intra-island trade” as a remedy for the  restrictions imposed upon the Turkish Cypriot people is tantamount to serving the Greek Cypriot policies, which aim at preventing the Turkish Cypriot people from engaging into direct trade with the rest of the world.

We have taken note of the fact that the Report has reflected the reaction of the TRNC vis-à-vis the military agreements the Greek Cypriot side reached with the United States of America, also reporting the Greek Cypriot sides’ still not removing the inappropriate wording adopted in the text books. References made to the “government of Cyprus” that has evolved in to a pure Greek Cypriot administration and lost its legitimacy and to the fact that one third of the budget of the UNFICYP is being covered by this administration, not only contradicts with the principle of impartiality but also indicates that the United Nations has itself become a part of the problem on the island. Moreover, the wording used in the Report, which poses the risk of implying that one side on the island is “state” and the other side is a “community” is unacceptable.

It is clear that the equal status that is allegedly being attributed to the Turkish Cypriot side at the negotiation table is merely a perception game. So long as the status of the both sides is not put to an equal footing on the basis of international law and the inherent rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, such as sovereign equality and equal international status are not acknowledged, it will not be possible to reach an agreement between the two sides.

It is high time for the Secretary-General to finally take note of the fact that there exist no common ground between the two sides and propose to the Security Council to revisit its resolutions that are not in line with the realities on the ground.

TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu received the President of Türkiye-Turkish Republic of Cyprus Cooperation Association, Rüşat Aydoğan and his accompanying delegation yesterday. (11 January 2023) 

Minister Ertuğruloğlu stated that an accurate policy is being pursued on the Cyprus issue on the basis of the existence of sovereign equal states and that there is no question of a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots.  

Briefing the members of the delegation about the past and recent developments on the Cyprus issue, Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu said that a new path has been followed regarding the Cyprus issue after the Cyprus talks held in Crans Montana, Switzerland in 2017 remained inconclusive due to Greek Cypriot bigotry.  

The Minister said that there will be no negotiation process on federation from now on and added that if a negotiation process is to be brought to the agenda, the existence of two sovereign equal states on the island will be accepted and two sovereign states will sit at the negotiation table as two sovereign states.   

Emphasising that there is no question of a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots, who have based the Cyprus problem on the claim of “occupation and invasion”, Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu stated that as long as Greek Cypriots are treated as a state and Turkish Cypriots are treated as the community of that state, there will never be a new partnership with Greek Cypriots and added that the two separate states will shape the future as neighbouring states, side by side, perhaps with good neighbourly relations.  

Referring that the policy of recognition of the TRNC came to the agenda for the first time after 2017, Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said that the admission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as an observer member to the Organisation of Turkic States (OST) with its own name and flag was the beginning of the process leading to recognition 

Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu also said that the European Union should be ashamed of its decisions on Cyprus and apologise to the Turkish Cypriots.  

  

 

 

The decision taken by the European Union (EU) General Affairs Council and the following statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus, are rejected by us, in toto.

The sole purpose of the decisions taken by the European Union is to please the Greek Cypriot administration. The Greek Cypriot administration was accepted as a member of the EU at the expense of breaching EU’s own rules in order to please Germany who aspired for the enlargement of the EU against the Copenhagen criteria. Moreover, the Greek Cypriot side became a member of the EU to prevent veto of Greece.

It should be remembered that the European Union and especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Greek Cypriot side are the main actors of continuation of the status quo on the island.

It is obvious that the Greek Cypriot side and its supporters fall short of properly analysing the developments on the island and in the region. Past experience regarding negotiations on the Cyprus issue proves that negotiations keep the Turkish Cypriot people as hostages of an inconclusive process, as well as perpetuating the status quo, which is against the interests of our people.

The status quo, which provides a comfort zone for the Greek Cypriot side cannot be addressed with the relevant Security Council Resolutions. It is amply clear that these Resolutions are far behind the changing conditions. Therefore, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has set out a new vision, supported by the Republic of Türkiye, based on sovereign equality of the peoples on the island. This is a constructive and realistic proposal which is in line with the changing conditions.

Statement by the Greek Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulides that “recognition of our sovereign equality is a precondition” demonstrates the fact that the Greek Cypriot side still cannot comprehend the position of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

We deem it necessary to underline that our policy regarding the recognition of our sovereign equality is an issue of principle and is a matter that entails recognition of our inherent rights.

The Greek press reported that Ioannis Kasoulides, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) has sent a letter to the Ambassadors residing in the Greek Cypriot side.

It was once again confirmed with Kasoulides’ letter that the Greek Cypriot side has no other purpose than to prevent the efforts of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Türkiye paving the way for our State to take its rightful place in the international community. Also, it has become obvious with the said letter that the Greek Cypriot side’s aim is to ensure the continuation of the inhuman isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people.

The Cyprus issue is a matter of the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriot people. With this understanding, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Türkiye have determined a new policy in line with the realities on the Island.

Kasoulides also states that they will not accept a possible agreement between the United Nations (UN) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The acceptance of the decisions regarding our country and our foreign policy by the Greek Cypriot Administration does not have any face value.

The presence and continuation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNFICYP) in our territory will be possible with the conclusion of a mutually acceptable legal arrangement between the two parties.

TRNC has repeatedly put on record, both in writing and verbally, especially before the UN Secretariat and all relevant UN institutions that UNFICYP could carry out its activities in our country within the framework of the goodwill of our State, but an agreement is needed in this regard.

TRNC believes that UNFICYP cannot carry out its presence and activities in our country with the current arrangement based on our goodwill and it is essential to agree on an agreement without wasting time.

We would like to reiterate that our determination in this regard is irreversible.

Our Ministry continues to act constructively for a mutually acceptable agreement to be reached between the TRNC and the UN. It is important that the UN, unlike ever before, adopts a constructive and factual approach.

Despite our sincere and constructive stance, if the UN continues to be detached from the realities on the Island and therefore no agreement can be reached, we will have no choice but to review all options and take the necessary steps, as we have stated before.