TEXT OF THE STATEMENT BY
H.E. MS. EMİNE ÇOLAK
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS
AT THE ANNUAL COORDINATION MEETING OF
THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC COOPERATION
(NEW YORK, 1ST OCTOBER 2015)

Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Secretary General,

Honorable Ministers,

Distinguished Delegates,

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

It is a distinct honor and privilege for me to address this important meeting. On behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people and the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, I extend to you our sincere greetings.

I would like to express our gratitude to H.E. Dr. Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary-General of the OIC, for his support and cooperation with us. I also would like to thank the able staff of the OIC secretariat for their tireless efforts in organizing this significant meeting.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to convey our condolences to the representatives of those countries whose citizens have so sadly perished at the mass stampede in Saudi Arabia last week.

As we convene here today many parts of the Muslim world are shattered by wars, leading to major loss of life and displacement. I am sure we are all of the same opinion that we can not be spectators in the face of what is happening in the Muslim world, gravely affecting our sisters and brothers.

No doubt, as representatives of the Muslim ummah, we all feel the burden of the tragedies unfolding before our eyes in Syria. I believe that now is the time for us to make decisions and to take concrete steps to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.

Excellencies,

We welcome the recent resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly, to hoist the flag of the state of Palestine at the United Nations. This symbolic, yet important step, confirms the support of the international community for the just cause of the Palestinian people, which we strongly support.

We also welcome the accelerated efforts by the international actors who are taking steps to effectively counter the threat posed particularly to our region by the terrorist organization, Isis.

Moreover, we are deeply concerned that the basic human rights of the Turkish Muslim minority in the Western Thrace continue to be violated by Greece; that Jammu and Kashmir remains under occupation, and that Karabagh, an indivisible part of Azerbaijan, continues to be occupied by Armenia. I believe that it is our responsibility to also address these injustices.

Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Delegates,

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you about the latest political developments in Cyprus, which are quite promising.

As will be recalled, negotiations resumed in May 2015. Our newly elected president H.E. Mr. Mustafa Akinci has reconfirmed that the Turkish Cypriot side remains fully committed to a structured, results-oriented negotiation process as foreseen by the joint declaration of 11 February 2014. The leaders also agreed in the joint statement that their goal is to achieve a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality and that this federation will have a single sovereignty which emanates equally from Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The federation will be composed of two constituent states of equal status and neither side will claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.

Since the resumption of the negotiations in May 2015, the meetings have been intensified at the level of leaders as well as at the level of their negotiators. I am pleased to inform you that much progress have been made on many issues, building on the joint statement and the convergences achieved since 2008. In fact, issues such as the executive, legislature and judiciary are almost finalized whilst real effort is shown by the sides to conclude the remaining issues.

Parallel to the negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus problem, the two sides are also seriously working on confidence building measures to improve the daily lives of the two communities. The aim of this parallel process is to support and contribute positively to the ongoing negotiations and to the climate of reconciliation and co-existence.

The two leaders in Cyprus believe that the coming months will be critical for the process and recognise the hard work that lies ahead. However, it is our expectation that if the sides remain committed to the ongoing intensified negotiation process and show the necessary political will, a solution is within reach in months, not years.

Settlement of the 5 decade old Cyprus problem would, undoubtedly, be a crucial development for our region which is fraught with conflicts and their tragic repercussions. Settlement of the Cyprus problem would not only inject hope that such difficult questions could indeed be settled but also contribute to the much needed peace and stability in our conflict ridden region. We need stability and dialogue so that our part of the world can enjoy the benefits of economic cooperation in the fields of finance, trade as well as the potential involved in new discoveries of natural resources in our region.

Mr. Chairman,

And members of this esteemed organization,

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 organization.

I am very pleased to state that our relations with the OIC countries are developing in various areas, including trade, education and tourism. We, however, believe that there is still room to develop the cooperation between Northern Cyprus 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.

We are very grateful to the esteemed members of the OIC for their unequivocal support extended to the cause of the Turkish Cypriot people through successive OIC resolutions and declarations. These resolutions and declarations call upon member states to strengthen effective solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots and to take concrete steps to end the unjustifiable isolation imposed on them. The relevant resolutions and declarations also call upon all member states to further develop bilateral relations with the Turkish Cypriots in all fields such as direct transport, trade, tourism, culture, education, sports and to exchange high-level visits with the Turkish Cypriot side.

In the absence of a comprehensive settlement in the island, we are expecting all member countries to take concrete steps towards ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people. At this stage in the negotiations, in addition to your gestures of solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots, we request that you encourage the Greek Cypriot side to be constructive in  the ongoing negotiations so that this time, we can reach a solution that is final, sustainable and to the benefit of all parties in the island.

Mr.Secretary-General,
Distinguished delegates,

Before I conclude, I would like to thank, once again, to the OIC secretariat for their efforts in making this important meeting a great success.

I thank you all for your most kind attention.