The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2674 (2023) extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2024, for a period of one year, has been adopted on 30 January 2023.

At the outset it should be emphasized that the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which continues to treat one side on the island as a “state” and the other side merely as a “community”, are unacceptable.

The continued ignorance of the existence of our state and the will of our people as well as the pillar principle of the consent of all parties for the functioning of the UN Peace Keeping forces in the Security Council decision, puts the existence of UNFICYP in our country in question. Moreover, the references to the consent as to the “Greek Cypriot side agrees for the extension of the mandate” discredits the reputation and the credibility of the UN.

The wording adapted in the resolution is completely detached from the realities on the ground and gives the rest of the world a misleading message by serving the interests of the Greek Cypriot side. The imposition through use of expressions such as continuation of the search for a common ground with the aim of paving the way for returning to the negotiations, as well as the resumption of official negotiations on the basis of the “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation” model, in most diplomatic terms, is a great disrespect towards the will of the Turkish Cypriot people.

Talks between the two sides on the basis of the “federation” model has collapsed for good in 2017 when the Greek Cypriot side left the negotiation table. The Security Council’s insistence on this exhausted model which even the United Nations Secretary-General himself refrains from mentioning in his reports and is now defunct for the Turkish Cypriot side, is unacceptable. Such an approach pursues no other purpose than serving the interests of the Greek Cypriot side, which aims at keeping the Turkish Cypriot people under isolation and disconnected from the rest of world for an indefinite time. Unlike previous terms, the decision to extend the mandate of the United Nations on the island for a period of one year instead of six months is a direct obstacle put in place to maintain the present status-quo.

The only realistic solution on the island today is for the two existing States to come together on the basis of their sovereign equality and equal international status to reach an agreement to live side by side. At this stage, members of the UN Security Council should stop ignoring the existing realities and accept the fact that there are two separate peoples and two separate States on the island. Our expectation from the Security Council is to adopt a new approach by acknowledging the existing realities on the ground and note that there is no common ground for the commencement of the same type of negotiations between the two sides. We also expect the Security Council to review its outdated resolutions which result in disconnecting the Turkish Cypriot people from the rest of the world.

A contradiction in the resolution is the reference to international law to address the humanitarian issues such as irregular migration, which requires international solidarity. It is unacceptable that the Turkish Cypriot side is kept out of the equation on sensitive issues that require international cooperation, being excluded from international community and international law for years due to the Greek Cypriot side’s obstructionist policies and the reluctance of the international community. For this reason, it is a real dilemma to refer to international law on the one hand while refraining from cooperating with the Turkish Cypriot side on the other.

The fact that the report makes no reference to the isolation inflicted upon the Turkish Cypriot people proves that we are right in our observation that the United Nations Security Council has lost sight of the realities on the ground. Exaggerated and misleading wording so as to expressing satisfaction with the increase in “intra-island trade” amounts to nothing but serving the strengthening of the obstacles for the Turkish Cypriot people for integrating with the rest of the world through direct trade.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, with its initiative regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş, which has become the symbol of the status quo, made a serious opening within the framework of international law. The Turkish Cypriot people regretfully condemn the threatening statements in the resolution, claiming that our steps regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş may prompt a response from the Security Council. We would like to emphasize once again that no one can have a right to say over the territory belonging to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and no one can prevent the acts by the TRNC concerning its own territory. We are determined to continue our policy regarding the fenced-off area of Maraş within the framework we have already announced and our initiatives in this direction will continue in the upcoming period.

Members of the Security Council openly serve the policies of the Greek Cypriot side which tries to prevent the Greek Cypriots from returning to their properties. The fenced-off area of Maraş is an area within the territory and sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and like other countries, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will never accept transferring the control of its own territory to an international organization. Instead of making threats, the Security Council should support our steps in order to contribute to reconciliation on the island.

Rather than criticising the unilateral hydrocarbon activities of the Greek Cypriot side, which only serve to escalate tension and create instability in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Security Council opted to link the revenues to be obtained from hydrocarbon resources with a possible agreement on the Cyprus issue, which tantamount to ignoring the inherent rights and legitimate interests of the Turkish Cypriot people. It is unacceptable for us that the issue is degraded to a mere tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and the fact that the natural resources in and around the island belongs to both peoples on the island is overlooked.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is determined at its stance that the relationship between the United Nations and the Turkish Cypriot authorities is unsustainable and cannot continue “business as usual”. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force has been maintaining its existence and carrying out its activities in our country on the basis of our goodwill and hospitality. It is crucial that the activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force are conducted within a legal framework. We will continue to seek a common understanding in good faith.

We have come to a point where old models for an agreement on the Cyprus issue have been exhausted and the time has come for adopting a new approach on the basis of the current realities. President of Türkiye, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his speech at the 77th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly openly called the members of the Security Council to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In light of this historic call, the international community should comprehend the realities on the island without wasting further time and start making efforts to reach a solution based on the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot People.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will continue to object to the resolutions of the Security Council until the Security Council revisits its decisions and refrains from treating one side on the island as a “state” and the other as a “community”.