Evaluating Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mustafa Akinci’s claim that Turkey will make the TRNC its province, experts say his statement ignores Turkish Cypriot history and overlaps with Greek theses, but Turkish Cypriots will give the best reply to Akinci in April elections.
Professors Ata Atun and Ugur Ozgoker and academician Emete Gozuguzelli conveyed their views to Anadolu Agency on Akinci’s remark that the ‘annexation of the TRNC by Turkey will be terrible’.
Atun, who is dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Cyprus Science University, noted that Akinci issued a planned and many-layered statement to appeal to some groups.
“Victimization is a situation that makes a splash. As a result of the reaction from Turkey, he has carried out a well-planned act which aims to gain EU and U.S. support. This is a message that says ‘Look, Turkey is on our neck. Help us keep Turkey away from Cyprus.’ A message that says ‘Only I can meet your (EU, U.S.) wishes.’”
“I would like to add this: As Turkish Cypriots, we never think like Akinci. Akinci does not represent us. My advice to our kin in Turkey is spoil his game by ignoring his provocative remarks. Turkish Cypriots will give him the necessary response in the elections,” said Atun.
He noted that Akinci was playing a calculated game.
“Akinci was trying to find support by decrying Turkey on social media and found some. These statements made by President Akinci and his spokesperson are purely aimed at obtaining financial, intelligence, media and political support from external sources. His remarks are against international norms and the bond of friendship and peace between Turkey and the TRNC.”
Akinci warns the West
Professor Ugur Ozgoker, president of the Turkish-Northern Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and board member of the DMW-International Diplomats Union, said Akinci is playing to the audience to gain votes from the left wing in the April presidential elections in the TRNC.
Speaking about Akinci’s recent comments, Ozgoker said: “He warns the West with discourse claiming the TRNC will be the 83rd province of Turkey. If Akinci is not elected, either Tahsin Ertugruloglu, Ersin Tatar or Zorlu Tore, who have nationalist views, will be the one sitting in the presidential chair.”
Evaluating Akinci’s comment that “I will not be the man linking the TRNC to Turkey like Hatay,” Ozgoker said:
“In 1939, with the decision of the Assembly of the Republic of Hatay, Hatay joined the Republic of Turkey. The TRNC is not like Hatay because Hatay was under a French mandate and there was also the risk of leaving Hatay to Syria while France withdrew from Syria.
“As a result of France needing Turkey’s support against Germany’s preparations to take revenge against it and Turkey's insistent pressure on France and lack of time ahead of World War II, freedom was given to Hatay as a temporarily solution. In one year, Hitler's Foreign Minister [Joachim von] Ribbentrop with [Russian President Joseph] Stalin's Foreign Minister [Vyacheslav] Molotov signed the Treaty of Non-Aggression. The next day, France approved Hatay joining the Turkish homeland. Besides, World War II broke out after six days and Germany invaded France. This is not the case in Cyprus.”
"Turks will punish Akinci by not electing him at the ballot box."
Reminding that the Turkish Cypriot people struggled to exist against the Greeks 70 years ago after British colonial rule, Ozgoker said:
“The Greek Cypriots had ambitions of linking Cyprus with Greece, that is, Enosis, after committing genocide against the Turkish Cypriots and clearing them from the island completely. However, Turkish Cypriots gave their lives for the motherland with Turkey’s great support and resisted this plan, enduring all kinds of persecution and torture. The Turkish Cypriots first established the Temporary Turkish Administration of Cyprus, then the Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration, the Cyprus Turkish Federated State after the 1974 Peace Operation and the TRNC in 1983.
Therefore, Akinci made a very unfortunate statement entirely for domestic politics. Turkish Cypriots are determined to keep the TRNC forever -- the independent and sovereign state they established after 70 years of struggle at the expense of their lives. The sovereignty of the TRNC is such a vital issue that it cannot be made an issue for the presidential election. I consider Akinci’s unfortunate statement a wrong choice of strategy. In April, Turkish Cypriots will answer this at the ballot box and punish Akinci by not electing him.”
‘This attitude is to deny self’
Emete Gozluguzelli, an expert at Akdeniz University’s Cypriot Law Faculty, said Akinci’s statement to the British daily newspaper The Guardian implies that Turkey is possibly making efforts to annex the TRNC and it is a stance that ignores Turkish Cypriot history and overlaps with Greek theses.
Gozuguzelli said Akinci was trained and assigned in a non-governmental organization established by the U.S. to emphasize the idea of a “common motherland, a future without Turkey” that is controlled by foreign powers.
“Akinci’s current attitude cannot be expected to be different. Akinci tells the public and the world ‘We have come to the last point. If you do not elect me, there will be a separation.’ He acts as if the Greek government has accepted political equality and the rights of the TRNC. These are behavioral disorders to be considered because our political equality has not been accepted so far. Of course, we need to ask Akinci as the Turkish people the following question: What right of Turkish Cypriots has Akinci defended against the Greeks so far?
"However, the Greek government still wants to settle 100,000 Greek Cypriots on the Turkish side. It does not accept the EU's United Cyprus opinion, Turkey as a guarantor of Turkish troops in the TRNC and equitable sharing of natural resources in the Mediterranean, so it ignores all the economic rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Now there is an effort to show it like the Greek Cypriot leader agreed with Akinci and the only problem is Turkey. This is unacceptable. This attitude is the denial of self beyond the lack of historical consciousness.”
‘Akinci goes beyond limit’
Gozuguzelli said the motherland Turkey’s reactions were appropriate as it strives to protect the TRNC’s international rights and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
If the 1974 Peace Operation and guarantee agreement had not been realized, there would be no TRNC, said Gozuguzelli.
"It is highly appropriate that the motherland reacted against Akinci, who ignores all these historical realities, our rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and on the island of Cyprus and implies that Turkey is at the core of these issues. He doesn’t know his place. He goes beyond the limits. He abuses his office.
“Hence, it is unacceptable to ignore the decisive stance of the Turkish government in the motherland, its support of education, transportation, healthcare services and even paying salaries and the fact that the TRNC stands with Turkey's support. It is immoral.”
Reporting by Gulsum Incekaya
Writing by Davut Demircan and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur