THE SECURITY COUNCIL DID NOT UTILIZE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE THE TENSION
Today (28 July 2020), the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2537 (2020) endorsing the United Nations Secretary-General’s periodic report on the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) dated 10 July 2020 and extending the mandate of the UNFICYP for 6 months.
THE UN HAS BECOME PART OF THE TENSION AND DEADLOCK
UN Security Council, as it has done throughout the years, has refrained in the said resolution due to political considerations, from making decisive observations and taking steps that would bring about sound and positive results for the island and the region in general, thus becoming part of the current tension and deadlock.
COOPERATION, DIPLOMACY AND DIALOGUE IS A MUST TO REDUCE THE TENSION IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
Given that the reason for the escalation of tension in the island and the region is the Greek Cypriot maximalist approach that rules out sharing of hydrocarbon resources, it is a vital omission that the Security Council did not make a call in this context for cooperation, diplomacy and dialogue to reduce tension. If the Security Council is sincere in its call for reducing the tension, it is imperative that it takes immediate action to eliminate the negative escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean region and make a call for cooperation, diplomacy and dialogue that will create interdependency on both sides of the island and eradicate the deep rooted mistrust between the two sides.
It is incomprehensible why the emphasis given to cooperation on matters related to economy, trade, tourism and police in the recent reports of the UN Secretary General is not adequately reflected in Security Council resolutions. The reasons behind the Council’s reluctance to emphasize cooperation that would help establish a relationship based on interdependency between the parties on the island and reach a negotiated settlement has become a matter for scrutiny. With this stance, the Security Council is preparing the ground for the Greek Cypriot side, which has been persistently avoiding cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot side, to cover up its intentions. It is a great contradiction that the Security Council on the one hand envisages the establishment of a military cooperation mechanism that is incompatible with the realities and needs of the island whilst not considering cooperation on issues such as economy, tourism, trade and hydrocarbon resources that will truly enable the two peoples and authorities to work together.
CONCRETE MILITARY BUNKER MUST BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY
The Security Council by omitting to mention in the resolution the fact that the Greek Cypriot administration, whose hostile steps have become increasingly dangerous in the buffer zone, have taken advantage of the conditions of the pandemic and constructed 187 military bunkers along the buffer zone, is hiding this reality from the international community. As long as the Security Council adopts such resolutions, the Greek Cypriot administration will continue with its provocative, hostile steps violating the status quo and increase its armament, escalating undoubtedly tension in the island and region to more dangerous levels. It is the duty and responsibility of the Security Council, mission of which is preservation of peace, stability and security in the world, to condemn these provocative and hostile steps of the Greek Cypriot side in its resolutions. If the said bunkers and the military buildup that violate the status quo are not removed immediately, we will have to take reciprocal steps, as was conveyed to the UN by our Minister and our determination in this regard was shared with our people.
It is surprising that the Security Council did not include in the resolution the arbitrary restrictions imposed by the Greek Cypriot administration at the crossings between South Cyprus and the TRNC which violate the freedom of movement and aim at harming the Turkish Cypriot economy and tourism. It is beyond comprehension that the Security Council did not refer in the resolution to such an issue that poisons the relations between the two peoples and that it did not call on the Greek Cypriot administration to immediately cease these obstructive policies. Undoubtedly, remaining silent in the face of such steps of the Greek Cypriot administration will help prepare the ground for the Greek Cypriot leadership to advance its similar political agendas and further consolidate the separation between the two peoples on the island. As a matter of fact, by remaining silent for all these years to the steps taken by the Greek Cypriot administration to prevent the voice of the Turkish Cypriot people from being heard as well as their participation in arts, sports, educational and cultural activities, the Security Council not only has encouraged the Greek Cypriot leadership to violate the human rights of the Turkish Cypriot people but that of the third country nationals as well.
Unfortunately, the paragraph on the freedom of movement of UNFICYP is yet again far from reflecting the realities on the ground. It is understood that the UN Security Council continues to be misguided on these issues. In this regard, we put on record our objections in relation to the facts on the ground.
THE SECURITY COUNCIL CONTRADICTS ITS OWN PRINCIPLES
The principle of obtaining the consent of all parties to a conflict, which is a bedrock principle of all United Nations peacekeeping operations, included in the guiding principles of these operations and the compliance of which is instructed by the UN Security Council through its resolutions, has been persistently ignored by the UN itself in the case of Cyprus for some reason. The said principles clearly underline that in order to establish and maintain a peacekeeping mission in any geography, it is necessary to obtain the separate consent of the parties to the dispute, otherwise the objectivity of the relevant mission will become questionable. Against this background, it is unacceptable that the call of the Turkish Cypriot side for its consent to be obtained is continuously left unanswered. If the UN, which currently operates within our country with the good will and tolerance shown by the TRNC, continues to insist on this stance in the coming period, we will be left with no option but to review our approach.
As the equal partner of the island of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to take every step towards cooperation, diplomacy and dialogue for the stability and security of our island and the region. The responsibility of the United Nations Security Council is to encourage the Greek Cypriot side in this direction. Otherwise, it is clear that it will not be possible to change the negative paradigms affecting the island and the region.
We wish to inform the public that our views and considerations with regard to the UN Secretary General’s report and the Security Council’s resolution have been shared in detail with all relevant parties, particularly with the UN Secretary-General and Security Council, both through our Ministry and our Representative Office in New York.