Yesterday, Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu made a speech at the ordinary Annual Coordination Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which is continuing in New York and at which the TRNC is an observer member.
The full text of Minister Ertuğruloğlu’s speech is as follows:
Dear sisters and brothers,
It is a distinct honour for me to address this important meeting. I extend to you all the heartfelt greetings of the Turkish Cypriot people and the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
At the outset I would like to express our gratitude to H.E. Dr. Madani, for his support to and cooperation with us the Turkish Cypriot people. I also would like to thank the able staff of the OIC Secretariat for their tireless efforts in organising this significant meeting.
I stand here with a heavy heart as many parts of the Muslim world continue to be shattered by wars, terrorism and conflict leading to major loss of life and displacement. Undoubtedly, we all share the same opinion that we cannot be spectators in the face of what is happening in the Muslim world, gravely affecting our sisters and brothers.
As representatives of the Muslim ummah, we, no doubt, all find the tragic turn of events in Syria unbearable. I believe it is imperative for us to make decisions and to take urgent and concrete action to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.
I am also deeply saddened to state that loss of life has become an almost every day occurrence in other Muslim countries such as Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Nagorno-Karabakh. It is our responsibility to take a strong stance on these matters and support our brothers and sisters in these countries. As the Turkish Cypriot State we are ready to do our part in this regard as well.
We have witnessed horrific scenes and the tragic loss of so many innocent lives at the hand of terrorists in the past year all over the world. The accelerated efforts by the international actors who are taking steps to effectively counter the threat posed particularly to our region by the terrorist organisation, ISIS (DAESH) and the others are welcomed.
I would also like to draw attention to the very unfortunate events, which took place in Turkey, on 15 July 2016, and once again would like to congratulate President Erdoğan and to commend the Turkish nation for their solidarity in order to uphold the will of the nation in light of the failed coup attempt and for championing democracy.
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly touch upon the long-standing Cyprus question.
As known, at present, negotiations are ongoing between the two leaders in Cyprus. It is an accepted fact that if a settlement is not reached by the end of 2016, after almost 50 years of negotiations, the present process between the two sides on the island will come to an end. After that point, the Turkish Cypriot people, who have been unfairly segregated from the rest of the world for over five decades, can no longer be held hostage to an uncertain future tied to never ending negotiations. Hence, whether a settlement is reached or not by the end of 2016, the Turkish Cypriot people need to be ready for both scenarios. At this important juncture, the organisation of the Islamic cooperation and its brotherly member states need to put the words in the OIC resolutions and declarations into action and take concrete and serious steps to show solidarity with their Turkish Cypriot brethren. In this connection, as the Turkish Cypriot government, we are ready to talk with the OIC secretariat as well as with each and every brotherly member state about a road map putting the OIC resolutions and declarations on Cyprus into effect.
And members of this esteemed organisation,
In view of the above, although I am very pleased to state that our relations with the OIC countries are developing in various areas, including trade, education and tourism, there is still much room to develop the cooperation between the TRNC and the OIC member states. I hope and trust that your governments will encourage their business people to look for opportunities to invest further in our country. I can assure you that my government is ready to do its part.
Our priority is to channel efforts towards the improvement of our economy, narrowing the sizeable economic disparity between the two sides on the island. The Turkish Cypriot side can no longer depend on or wait idly for a settlement in order for economic growth to be achieved in the north. The unjust isolation and inhuman embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriot side are, no doubt, the greatest impediment to putting the Turkish Cypriot economy on par with the Greek Cypriot side. It is with this understanding that embargoes which serve nothing but to deepen discrepancies between the two sides and wrongfully disadvantage the north should be lifted. More importantly the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people is the main obstacle to a settlement, since it punishes the victim of the Cyprus issue, namely the Turkish Cypriots and rewards the aggressor, namely the Greek Cypriots.
In view of the above, I would like to reiterate that irrespective of whether the sides in Cyprus achieve a settlement by the end of 2016, it is high time that the unjust and inhuman isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots are lifted immediately. The lifting of isolations is a necessity for the purposes of reaching a settlement since it would serve as a motivation for the Greek Cypriot side to act more constructively at the negotiation table. And in the event that reaching a settlement is not realised your Turkish Cypriot brothers and sisters will require development in all fields. Therefore without further a due, we await the OIC member states to take affirmative action and steps towards the lifting of the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots.
Before I conclude, I would like to state that the Turkish Cypriot state, which shares a common history and culture with the member states, is fully committed to the objectives of OIC and is a proud observer member of this organisation. Hence, we are ready to do our part and cooperate in dealing with the important problems faced by the Islamic world such as conflicts, poverty, education and environment. We have a saying in Turkish which states that “strength arises from unison” and I believe that if we act in solidarity in the Islamic world, there would not be any insurmountable problems.
Last but not least, I would like to thank, once again, the OIC Secretary-General and the secretariat for their efforts in making this important meeting a great success.
I thank you all for your most kind attention.”