Undersecretary of TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mustafa Lakadamyalı delivered a speech on behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu at the informal meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Council of Ministers in New York on 21 September 2023. The full text of his speech is as follows:

“It is a distinct honour for me to address this informal meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers. I extend you all the heartfelt greetings of the Turkish Cypriot People and the government of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

At the outset, I would like to express our gratitude to Ambassador Khusrav Noziri, Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization, for his support and cooperation extended to the Turkish Cypriot People. I would like to thank the able staff of the ECO Secretariat for their tireless efforts in organizing this significant meeting. I also would like to thank Jeyhun Bayramov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, for chairing this important meeting.

The Turkish Cypriot State, is fully committed to the objectives of the Economic Cooperation Organization at large and the ECO vision 2025 in particular. As known, we have been participating in the Organization’s activities and events since 1992. After attaining the observer status in 2012, the Turkish Cypriot State has been a dedicated observer member, doing its utmost to contribute to the work of the organization. we have been a keen participant at the meetings of the Organization at all levels; we have co-hosted numerous successful ECO events in North Cyprus and we are ready to host new ECO events in Turkish Republic of northern cyprus. As an observer member of ECO, the TRNC considers its relations and cooperation with ECO member states to be mutually beneficial for furthering progress and development.

In this connection, I would like to emphasize that we stand ready to contribute to the cooperation areas specified in the ECO vision 2025, namely “trade, transportation and connectivity, energy, tourism, economic growth and productivity as well as social welfare and environment.” Moreover, our institutions on higher education could constitute another area of cooperation with the brotherly member states.

I am certain that you are following the Cyprus issue closely.

After innumerable negotiation processes over the past fifty odd years under the auspices of the United Nations, despite the persistent good will and constructive stance of the Turkish Cypriot side, efforts to reach an agreement in the form of a “bi-communal bi-zonal federation based on political equality”, have yielded no result, due to the intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side.

The treatment of the Greek Cypriot side by the international community as the so-called legitimate government on the island further emboldens the Greek Cypriot side to pursue their intransigent policies and as such, constitute the very definition of the Cyprus problem.

There are two separate peoples living on the island of Cyprus, who are represented by two separate states. The reality of the island of Cyprus is that it is one island, but two states. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, state of the Turkish Cypriot People, and the Greek Cypriot State that pretends to be the “Republic of Cyprus”.

The only way to reach a sustainable agreement on the island is through acceptance of the reality that two states exist on the island today and that these two states have sovereign equality and equal international status. This is essential to start negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side.

I would like to point out to the historic speech that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Türkiye, delivered on the occasion of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, whereby he invited the international community to recognize the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and to establish diplomatic, political and economic ties with it. I wish to reiterate my sincere gratitude to President Erdoğan for his invaluable support extended to the Turkish Cypriot people.

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a full-fledged state with all its institutions intact.

We have become a hub of higher education in the region with 23 universities. Today we offer high quality education to 120 thousand students from 154 countries with academicians from 65 countries.

Moreover, with its pristine beaches, nature and climate, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a center for tourism. each year, nearly 8 million people visit the TRNC via air and land border gates, thanks to our country’s 164 accommodation facilities, 23 of which are five-star hotels, with a total capacity of 26 thousand beds, its conference halls and marinas for yacht tourism.

Up until now, we have been working hard to overcome the destructive consequences of the inhumane and illegal isolation imposed upon the Turkish Cypriot People. We are very grateful for the unabated support of our motherland, the Republic of Türkiye in every field of life.

In this connection, we believe that it is high time that the Turkish Cypriot People take their rightful place in international arena. The opportunity should be given to the Turkish Cypriot People to take their rightful place in the world.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere hope that the Member States would expeditiously take concrete steps to engage more with the Turkish Cypriot State to help us overcome the inhumane restrictions and isolation imposed upon us by the Greek Cypriot Side”.