United Nations Security Council deployed a United Nations Peacekeeping Force in the Island of Cyprus through its Resolution 186, dated 4 March 1964, with an aim to “restore peace” in face of the atrocities carried out against the Turkish Cypriot people, when the island was turned into a bloodbath by the Greek Cypriot side. After 60 years, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus has become one of the longest running “peacekeeping” missions in the world and rather than restoring peace or facilitating an agreement between the sides, it has not gone beyond serving as the guardian of the status quo.

 

United Nations Security Council Resolution 186 sought the “consent” of the “Government of Cyprus” which had no legitimacy due to exclusion of one of the government partners from all State organs by force or arms and which was monopolized by the Greek Cypriot side. This has led to the misdiagnosis and continuation of the Cyprus issue to this day. The issue of status, which constitutes the essence of the Cyprus problem, is the product of Resolution 186. Since 4 March 1964, the international community has been treating the Greek Cypriot people as the sole legitimate government on the island, whereas the Turkish Cypriot people as a “minority community”, rendering the Cyprus issue complex and inextricable.

 

Between the years of 1963 and 1974, the darkest chapter in the history of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot people were forced to live in small enclaves and 103 Turkish Cypriot villages were eradicated before the very eyes of the international community, including the UN Peacekeeping Force which was on the ground at the time. Therefore, the anniversary of the presence of the UN Peacekeeping Force, which merely “monitored and reported” the atrocities faced by the Turkish Cypriot people, is not an occasion to be celebrated with pride on our part. Quite to the contrary, it is the symbol of the date when we were deprived of our inherent and legitimate rights.

 

The sole party who put an end to the 11 years of suffering of the Turkish Cypriot people and, to this day, continues to provide and protect the peace, is Motherland Türkiye, who intervened in the island in 1974 in accordance with her legitimate rights stemming from the 1960 International Treaties.

 

For the past 60 years and to this day, Security Council resolutions regarding the extension of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force continue to refer to the illegitimate “Government of Cyprus”. Although we allow the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus to carry out its operations in our country as a gesture of our good will and hospitality, despite the lack of seeking consent of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, we continue our initiatives towards placing the operations of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force on a legal

Foreign Affairs Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu assessed recent developments to Türk Ajansı Kıbrıs.

Stating that the Greek Cypriot administration has been engaged in unilateral activities violating the status of the buffer zone for a long time, Ertuğruloğlu expressed: “despite our objections, the Larnaka-Dikelya-Ayia Napa road; the Pile-Kingsfield road, and the Pile-Oroklini road, which were built by creating faits accomplis and pass through Turkish Cypriot people’s properties are just few examples of these buffer zone violations. All of these violations are being committed in front of the eyes and with the knowledge of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, which, by refraining from reacting to the Greek Cypriot side’s buffer zone violations, is exhibiting a biased attitude far from performing its duties impartially.”

Ertuğruloğlu further explained:

“Lately, the Greek Cypriot side has begun the construction of a road violating the buffer zone between Astomerit-Evrihu and even went as far as making changes to googlemaps to depict the said road as if it is situated within the Greek Cypriot side. Furthermore, a military building belonging to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force within the buffer zone has been allocated to the Greek Cypriot side to be used as a chair factory. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force, mandated to prevent all these violations, has not been able to go beyond “reporting” on this situation. On the other hand, it is shameful on the part of the United Nations that the Peacekeeping Force opted to attempt to physically block the purely humanitarian Yiğitler-Pile road construction project and to use force against our citizens. At a time when the presence of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus has reached its 60th year, the time has come for it to question its mandate and responsibilities, as well as how effectively it performs its functions, considering that its blatant biased attitude towards the two sides on the island increases day by day. It is our expectation that the United Nations Peacekeeping Force takes concrete steps to regain the shattered trust of the Turkish Cypriot people.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Ertuğruloğlu also expressed his hope that Niyazi Kızılyürek’s re-election campaign at the European Parliament elections, which he is carrying out in the TRNC, should not be given credence by our people.

Stating that “Niyazi Kızılyürek, who is running for the re-election at the European Parliament elections and yet is in an effort to run an election campaign in our country as well, seems to have forgotten how and from where he has become a candidate and won the previous election,” Ertuğruloğlu further stated:

“Despite the fact that even the 1960 international agreements offered an electoral system whereby the Turkish Cypriot people and Greek Cypriot people elected their own representatives separately, Niyazi Kızılyürek has accepted the regime which has become a purely Greek Cypriot administration in 1963 and which promotes itself to the whole world as the so called “Republic of Cyprus” as the sole sovereign representative of the entire island. Hence, he is undertaking an effort that has never been seen before in Cyprus whereby he is trying to establish a new model to garner the votes of both Turkish Cypriot people and Greek Cypriot people.”

Reminding that the European Union made a clear choice between the two sides on the island in 2004 by approving the unilateral EU membership of the Greek Cypriot administration, which only represents the Greek Cypriot people on the island, Ertuğruloğlu stated “Unable to detach from Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration’s orbit under the guise of membership solidarity, it is obvious which countries’ interests the European Union is serving. Actions of those who have high hopes from such a mentality are only binding on themselves.”

Minister Ertuğruloğlu stated that “Those who believe in Greek Cypriot sovereignty over the island is comfortable with feeding on the “crumbs of mercy” that the Greek Cypriot administration would offer to them as a “favour”, obviously a mentality that Kızılyürek suits him.  I hope that our people will not give credence to Kızılyürek’s activities in our country, who is attempting to mislead them for his personal gains.”

 

Foreign Affairs Minister also elaborated on the news in the Greek Cypriot media regarding the Greek Cypriot schools in Karpaz.

Ertuğruloğlu recalled that certain rights were granted to those Greek Cypriot people who chose to continue living in the Turkish Cypriot side within the framework of the voluntary exchange of populations agreement reached between the Turkish Cypriot side and Greek Cypriot side in 1975. Ertuğruloğlu stressed that according to this agreement, the ability of the Greek Cypriot people in the region to easily fulfil their rights to education, freedom of movement, health and worship has been safeguarded.

Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu expressed: “Our State has shown due sensitivity regarding the Greek Cypriot people who have voluntarily chosen to reside in the Turkish Cypriot side since 1975 so that they can live in peace and tranquillity.”

Ertuğruloğlu stated that “The Greek Cypriot Schools which are afforded a special status and are operating under the supervision of the TRNC Ministry of Education ensure that the Greek Cypriot people living in our country benefit from their right to education.” Ertuğruloğlu added that these schools are operating under the supervision of the TRNC Ministry of Education, and the school teachers and textbooks are being sent by the Greek Cypriot administration. Ertuğruloğlu indicated that the appointment of the teachers and the transfer of textbooks to schools are being carried out in coordination with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.

Expressing that the Greek Cypriot people living in the TRNC are able to visit the Greek Cypriot side using the border gates which have been open since 2003, Ertuğruloğlu stated that “the Greek Cypriot people living in safety and tranquillity in our country are unfortunately being exploited as a political tool by the Greek Cypriot leadership, claiming that they live in so-called “enclaves.” They are being used to serve the Greek Cypriot leadership’s political ambitions at the expense of being exploited on international platforms.”

Ertuğruloğlu continued as follows:

“The Greek Cypriot administration, with the aim of brainwashing Greek Cypriot children residing in our country and, as always, instilling hatred towards Turks, is trying to send to the Greek Cypriot schools in our country the textbooks which are being used in the Greek Cypriot administration containing racism and hate speech. The said textbooks which are delivered to our Ministry through the United Nations Peacekeeping Force are being evaluated by our authorities and those containing hateful content are being refused to be taught in our country. Naturally, it is our State’s duty and responsibility to take all precautions to ensure that individuals residing in our own country do not grow up with sentiments of hatred and racism. During the inspection of the Greek Cypriot schools in Karpaz conducted by our Ministry of Education, it has been identified that textbooks with offensive content which we had refused in 2015 are currently being taught in the aforementioned schools.

It should be nothing short of an embarrassment for the Greek Cypriot administration that its game of poisoning young minds with textbooks in order to portray the Greek Cypriot people who are happily residing in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as “enclaved” has been exposed. Instead of being ashamed of their actions, it is hypocrisy for Greek Cypriot politicians to act high and mighty on international platforms. On the other hand, the ineffectiveness of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force has once again been exposed, as the party which is acting as a facilitator for the transfer of the said textbooks to the Greek Cypriot schools.”

Foreign Affairs Minsiter Ertuğruloğlu also reminded that there has never been a similar initiative by the Greek Cypriot administration for the Turkish Cypriot people who chose to reside in the Greek Cypriot side, and that there has never been a Turkish school active in Southern Cyprus.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu emphasized in his speech at the meeting on Israel-Palestine that the issue in Gaza can only be resolved through a two-state solution.

Minister Ertuğruloğlu attended and delivered a speech at the Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held in Istanbul on 24th February, organized by the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye, Directorate of Communications, under the theme of “The Israeli Occupying Authority’s Disinformation and Hostilities against Journalists and Media Outlets in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

Ertuğruloğlu underlined that with the advancement of technology, the widespread use of digitalization, the proliferation of news sources, and consequently, the increase in perception management, disinformation, and manipulation have also increased.

Pointing out that the Israeli government uses these tactics to conceal its war crimes in Gaza, diverting international attention to a different perspective, Minister Ertuğruloğlu emphasized that the Gaza issue can only be resolved through a two-state solution.

Minister Ertuğruloğlu also met with Turkish Presidency Communication Director Prof. Fahrettin Altun and Niger Minister of Communication, Posts and Digital Economy Sidi Mohamed Raliou on the sidelines of the meeting. TRNC Consul General to İstanbul Fatma Mallıdağ Demirel, Third Secretary Esma Eroğlu, and Public and Information Officer Mert Efekan accompanied Minister Ertuğruloğlu in Istanbul.

 

We strongly condemn the attack on a group of our youths on 18 February 2024 during their trip to the Troodos region of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (GCA).

Our youths, who were on their way back to our country following a trip to the Troodos region, stopped at the Platania picnic area on their way, where they were attacked by a group of Greek Cypriots with bats and stones wrapped in Greek flags. This unacceptable incident has shown the heights to which unabated and increasing racism, animosity and hate speech towards Turks has reached in the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus. The sole reason behind the continuation of such incidents which have also taken place in the past, is the inadequacy and ineffectiveness of the Greek Cypriot administration in bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.

The seeds of hatred which, for years, have been sown into young minds at the expense of poisoning them by the political leadership, church and schools in the Greek Cypriot side, have manifested itself today in the form of increasing physical violence.

Greek Cypriot Ministry of Education announced a “poster competition regarding the Turkish occupation” for the 2023-2024 academic year. Moreover, so-called literature competitions are also being organized by the Greek Cypriot side at the secondary school level where poetry readings themed a baby whose arm has been allegedly “cut off by the Turkish army” is portrayed as a “source of inspiration” for the students. These initiatives are intentional and aim at keeping anti-Turkish sentiments and animosity alive among the Greek Cypriot people.

Racist and hateful content in the school books taught at the Greek Cypriot schools continue to poison young minds every day and only serve to instill a hegemonic mentality in the new generations rather than to build a peaceful and tranquil future for the island.

It is not surprising that according to a study of 31 European countries conducted by the University of Cyprus Centre for Field Studies in Southern Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot administration ranked among the top 10 most xenophobic countries.

We invite the Greek Cypriot administration to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this unacceptable incident in the shortest possible time and also stress that we will closely follow developments in this regard so that this attack does not go unpunished.

Mr. Hulusi Akar, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye, and his accompanying delegation, who came to our country to hold official contacts, made a visit to our Minister, H.E. Mr. Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu. During the meeting, the importance of cooperation between TRNC and Türkiye, and support for a two-state solution on the basis of sovereign equality and equal international status were emphasized.

TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu received the President of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) Serkan Kayalar and TİKA’s Coordinator in Lefkoşa Havva Pınar Özcan.

Kayalar gave information about the activities of TİKA and during the meeting the views were exchanged on the activities in the TRNC.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2723 (2024) extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2025, for a period of one year, has been adopted on 30 January 2024.

Presence of United Nations Peacekeeping Force has reached its 60th year in Cyprus, which was established with Resolution 186 of the United Nations Security Council dated 4 March 1964.  Throughout this time, UNFICYP has failed to adhere to the fundamental principles it is meant to abide by, such as equal treatment to both sides on the island, as well as finding fair solutions to disputes. Furthermore, UNFICYP has become the guardian of the status quo on the island, which is considered unsustainable by all relevant parties.

The main factor enabling the United Nations Peacekeeping Force to operate within the borders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is the good-willed cooperation of our authorities, despite our objections to the relevant Security Council Resolutions. Yet again, the Security Council has repeated the mistake of extending the mandate of UNFICYP without seeking the consent of the Turkish Cypriot side. We reject this approach, which disregards the will and existence of the Turkish Cypriot side. Sovereignty in the north of Cyprus belongs to the Turkish Cypriot people and their State, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Thus, it is crucial that UNFICYP carry out its activities in our country on a legitimate basis.

In the Security Council Resolution, while the sides are requested to engage constructively with the Personal Envoy appointed by the UN Secretary General on the one hand, on the other hand they are also called on to make an effort to reach a comprehensive agreement based on “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation”. Imposing a model which is incompatible with the realities on the ground and which is proven to fail, constitutes a great disrespect towards the will of the Turkish Cypriot people, and also sets a precondition on the contacts of the Personal Envoy.

We deem it necessary to remind that we gave our consent to the appointment of a Personal Envoy for a period not exceeding six months in order to determine whether or not common ground exists between the sides for the start of a new negotiation process. Our expectation from the Personal Envoy is to carry out her contacts with an open mind and to put on record once again our new vision regarding the Cyprus issue.

Today, the only realistic solution on the island depends on the establishment of good neighbourly relations on the basis of the sovereign equality and equal international status of the two existing States. At this stage, in order to achieve a lasting cooperation and stability on the island, the members of the UN Security Council must review their outdated Resolutions and adopt a new approach based on the existence of two separate peoples and States on the island within their respective borders.

Moreover, the resolution mentions violations in the buffer zone by exclusively pointing to the situation in Pile. The sole responsible party for the events which unfolded in the area is UNFICYP, which attempted to prevent the construction of a purely humanitarian Yiğitler-Pile road. The Turkish Cypriot side demands the implementation of the understanding reached with UNFICYP and the completion of the construction of the road in the shortest possible time. On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot side which purports to be the sole owner of the island, is attempting to extend its hegemonic stance to the buffer zone. The increased tensions and violations in the buffer zone are a direct consequence of this delusion.

The 34th Regional Planning Council Meeting of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation (ECO) was held in Tehran, the capital of Iran, on 22-25 January, 2024.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was represented by Mustafa Kemal Beyazbayram, Director of Relations with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation of the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Third Secretary Görkem Reis and Assistant Planning Expert from the State Planning Organisation Hürol Üşümüş.

Mustafa Beyazbayram also made a speech at the opening session of the meeting and expressed his suggestions on the possibility of our country hosting an ECO event in 2024.

 

Minister Ertuğruloğlu emphasized that the definition of the Cyprus problem is “the recognition of the Greek Cypriot side as the ‘Republic of Cyprus’ ” and said, “It is never realistic to talk about the solution of the Cyprus problem as long as there is no consensus of the relevant parties on this definition.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu spoke at the “Eastern Mediterranean Energy Summit” organized at the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

Ertuğruloğlu pointed out that the Greek Cypriots, with the support of other countries, recklessly use this recognition against the Turkish Cypriots and said that the energy issue is one of them.

Reminding that the United Nations Secretary General has appointed a personal envoy who will begin his contacts on the island next week, Ertuğruloğlu told that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides have different approaches on the issue.

Ertuğruloğlu expressed and criticized that the Greek Cypriot side has desire to hear from the personal envoy that there are grounds to continue the negotiation process that collapsed in Crans Montana in 2017 and to start negotiations on the base of federation partnership.

Adding that the matter of federation is now closed for the Turkish Cypriot side after the failure of the Crans Montana talks, Ertuğruloğlu said “It would be naive to expect different results by repeating the same things. Therefore, a federal partnership is out of the question.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu noted that the approval they gave for the appointment of the personal envoy for 6 months does not mean any change in the new state policies and said “The inequality of status created between the two sides is the only reason why a permanent settlement to the Cyprus problem cannot be reached. The possibility of the two former partners forming a new partnership to create a single state has now completely removed. The future lies in the existence of two sovereign equal states in good neighborly relations.”

 

TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu strongly criticised Irfan Siddiq, the British High Commissioner to Southern Cyprus. The Minister noted that Siddiq, who not only exceeded the limits of diplomatic courtesy, but also made a habit of exceeding the limits of decency, started to perceive insulting the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot as a virtue.

Minister Ertugruloglu strongly reacted to Siddiq’s remarks and said, “Siddiq with his statements, is acting like a member of ELAM, more Greek Cypriot than a Greek Cypriot. Instead of following a well-balanced policy, due to being a Pakistan origin, he is endeavoring to look nice to the Greek Cypriot side”.

Ertuğruloğlu pointed out that it was not possible for a diplomat who ignored the facts of the Cyprus issue to have any kind of contribution to the process, adding that blaming Turkish Cypriot people for not sharing the same ideas as them was not going to take them anywhere.

Quoting the Commissioner’s statement that claimed the two sides’ interest had not changed since both had shown interest in federation before, Ertugruloglu said, “This statement shows how distance he is to understand the issue”

He said the Greek Cypriot side, since being recognized as the sole representative of the Cyprus Republic had not been interested in the Federation. “It’s you who created and fueled the problem. It’s you who is still treating Greek Cypriots as the Republic of Cyprus. On the other side, you are cursing Turkish Cypriots who are putting up a struggle with pride. This is rudeness, waywardness and lack of diplomatic courtesy”

The Minister also stated that there would be no ground for renewed negotiations unless the United Nations corrected a 60-year mistake, which is to treat Turkish Cypriots as part of a state and Greek Cypriots as the state.

Ertugruloglu said Siddiq “exceeded both diplomatic and etiquette boundaries by interfering in the internal affairs of the TRNC.”

He accused Siddiq of attempting to incite the public, saying: “There is no return to the federation model; we have closed that chapter. You insult the Turkish Cypriot people who resist treating the Greek Cypriots as ‘the Republic of Cyprus.’ This impertinence is devoid of diplomatic courtesy.”

He rejected any return to the federation model and asserted that the TRNC is a “reality” independent of Siddiq’s approval and will be recognized by other countries.