United Nations Security Council resolution 2587 (2021) has been adopted on 29 July 2021 regarding the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a period of six months, until 31 January 2022.
The approval and consent of the Turkish Cypriot side has not been sought once again regarding the presence and operations of UNFICYP on the island. This is even in contradiction of the United Nation’s own rules and principles. It is necessary to remind that UNFICYP is only able to carry out its operations on our territory owing to the good will and constructive stance of our authorities. We have a rightful demand for too long that a formal arrangement be reached between our authorities and the United Nations regarding the operations of UNFICYP in our country. We would like to bring to the attention of the international community that unless our demand is responded positively in a reasonable period of time, we will be compelled to revisit our goodwill on UNFICYP’s operations in our country.
In the said Resolution, the United Nations Security Council disregards the constructive proposal tabled by the Turkish Cypriot side in the informal 5+UN meeting which took place on 27-29 April 2021. Attempting to impose a settlement model which has failed for many years as it is not consistent with realities on the ground, certainly demonstrates the fact that the UN Security Council intends to preserve the status quo on the island which favours the Greek Cypriot side. Today, there are two separate States on the Island of Cyprus governing themselves and having separate sovereignty on their respective territories. In light of these facts, the Turkish Cypriot side is proposing the acknowledgement of sovereign equality and equal international status of the two States, prior to the start of possible formal negotiations in order to reach a cooperative relationship between the two sides. The proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side, which reflects the realities on the ground and has a chance of success, is the only way for a breakthrough.
Undoubtedly, natural resources in and around the island belong to the two Peoples. Taking into account of this reality, the Turkish Cypriot side has made constructive proposals to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the hydrocarbons. Its proposal dated 13 July 2019 remains to be on the table. These facts are not reflected in the Resolution which constitutes another important omission. Persistent provocative actions of the Greek Cypriot side, which are far from cooperation and sharing, at the expense of the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriot People, is the underlying reason of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. As also was the case in previous resolutions, many provocative actions of the Greek Cypriot side such as the placement of 233 concrete firing positions along the border and in the buffer zone which lead to escalation of tension on the island, are not mentioned in the Resolution. It is evident that the United Nations Security Council tries to conceal or even encourage the policy of the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus to escalate tension in and around the island.
There is a call on both sides for a mine-free island in the Security Council resolution. The United Nations Secretary-General openly states in his latest Report on UNFICYP that while the Turkish Cypriot authorities display a positive attitude, the Greek Cypriot authorities are reluctant on the matter. It is unacceptable that this fact is not reflected in the Resolution.
It is clear that the wording in the Resolution regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş/Varosha is the product of Greek-Greek Cypriot propaganda. Accurate interpretation of the steps taken by our Government regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş/Varosha is crucial. Due to the rejectionist attitude of the Greek Cypriot side, fenced-off area of Maraş/Varosha has become the symbol of the status quo. The initiative of the Turkish Cypriot side which respects international law and private property rights has to be evaluated as a positive step, as it will benefit everyone. With this understanding, our Government will continue to take decisions it deems necessary regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş/Varosha which is a part of our country.
The United Nations Security Council has to separate itself from the illusion that the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus represents the whole island. We expect the UN Security Council to comprehend that a sustainable agreement can only be possible through a paradigm to be built upon the reality that there exist two Peoples and two States with sovereign equality on the island.