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.