Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu made a speech at the 43rd Council of Ministers meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Within the framework of the decisions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Cyprus, Minister Ertuğruloğlu expressed the expectations of the Turkish Cypriot side regarding the establishment of close relationship with brotherly member countries and intensification of the existing solidarity and relations.

The full text of the statement by Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu is as follows:

“It is an honour for me to address the 43rd Council of Ministers meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. I extend to you all, sincere greetings of the Turkish Cypriot people and the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

  I would like to thank the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the brotherly Uzbek nation for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to myself and my delegation in this beautiful and historic city of Tashkent.

I also would like to thank H.E. Dr Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and his secretariat for all their efforts in making this important meeting a great success.

Our world at large, but particularly the Islamic geography is going through a very difficult period marked by terrorism, sectorial conflicts and armed clashes with tragic repercussions such as loss of life and displacement of peoples. Apart from these, as the Islamic world, we are faced with challenges in such areas as education, development, environment and so on. Hence, as we gather here today, our agenda is challenging yet not insurmountable, especially if we act in unity and solidarity.

As the representatives of the Islamic world, it is not our responsibility to only pass resolutions and make declarations on important matters dear to this esteemed organisation and its member states, but also and more vitally to ensure their implementation in practice so that we can overcome the problems of our peoples. Otherwise, these deeds remain as mere words and the problems linger, leading to continuation of the suffering of the peoples of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

As you are well aware, we are, presently, at an important juncture in Cyprus. At this critical juncture, we more than ever, need the leadership, support and solidarity of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and its brotherly member states.

Currently, negotiations are ongoing and most recently the two leaders held a tripartite meeting with the UN Secretary-General at the margins of the General Assembly in New York, last month. However, the tripartite meeting did not meet the raised expectations and no concrete results have been achieved. In contradiction to the recent joint statements, in which the two leaders have committed themselves to reaching a comprehensive settlement in 2016, the Greek Cypriot side has rejected to set a time frame, a roadmap, including a multiparty meeting, which would constitute the final stage of the negotiation process.

Reluctance to set up a road map clearly shows the lack of political will on the part of the Greek Cypriot side to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot side. As will be remembered, this was the diagnosis of the UN Secretary-General in his report, dated May 2004, in the aftermath of the separate simultaneous referenda held on both sides of the island.

 Nevertheless, 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.

In this connection, I would like to refer to the numerous resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperatıon, which invite the member states to strengthen effective solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots, closely associating with them, and with a view to supporting them in every fıeld to intensify relations with them, thus contributing to their integration with the world.

We are thankful for these resolutions. Nonetheless, much still needs to be done regarding their implementation. The all-embracing isolation, referred to in the OIC resolutions, continues to be a harsh reality in the daily lives of all Turkish Cypriots, impeding their development in all fields of life.

Undoubtedly, there is a correlation between the viability of a settlement that may be reached by the end of 2016 and the development of the Turkish Cypriot side. Hence, immediate and concrete steps of the organisation towards eliminating the impeding conditıons of Turkish Cypriots, precluding their integration with the world is all the more urgent and important.

On the other hand, in the likely absence of a settlement by the end of 2016, due to chronic Greek Cypriot intransigence, the Turkish Cypriot state is not without alternatives. In such an eventuality, your Turkish Cypriot brethren will need your leadership, support and solidarity in terms of overcoming the unjust isolation.

In this context, I believe that, it is now the time for all the Muslim brotherly countries to act and lead the international community in taking concrete steps, enabling the Turkish Cypriot people to be part of the international community.

I hope that the conclusions of our meeting will contribute to the settlement of the problems we face ranging from conflicts and its repercussions to development, education and environment. As the Turkish Cypriot state, an observer member of this August organisation, we are ready to do whatever necessary to contribute to the good of the peoples of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Thank you for your kind attention.”