Politics, World, Europe

Turkish Cypriots 'deserve own state,' says President Tatar

Leader of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus says their policy is based on 'two equal, sovereign states on the island'

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal   | 26.01.2021
Turkish Cypriots 'deserve own state,' says President Tatar


The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) needs to be recognized internationally for a lasting solution on the island, the nation’s president said Tuesday.

Ersin Tatar’s remarks came in a recorded video message at a webinar held online by the Circle Foundation, Council of Turkish Cypriots Association, and British Turkish Cypriots Association.

The president said the Turkish Cypriots were equal to Greek Cypriots in 1960 as one of the two founding people of the Republic of Cyprus.

But “unfortunately, in 1964, after the Turkish Cypriots were kicked out by the EOKA movement and Makarios forces, the Republic of Cyprus continued to be recognized as the only recognized state, which was obviously occupied by the Greek Cypriots.”

“Since then, the Turkish Cypriots are running their own state,” Tatar said, adding that “we were separated” from the Greek Cypriots since 1960.

The EOKA was a pan-Hellenic armed movement aiming the unification of Cyprus with mainland Greece, and Archbishop Makarios was the former president of Republic of Cyprus.

He said they have been running the TRNC since 1983.

Turks deserve their own state

“Therefore, we say to the international community that we deserve our own state to be recognized, because throughout the history, in a way, we have enjoyed our sovereignty,” Tatar said.

“My policy now, as the newly elected president of the Turkish Cypriots, is that we have two equal, sovereign states on the island, because we have been sovereign anyway.”

Tatar said many attempts to solve the Cyprus issue have now been “exhausted” because the Greek Cypriots have enjoyed the international recognition of the Republic of Cyprus as the only state on the island and they did not give the needed response to those attempts of solution based on a federated structure.

He said: “All those attempts have been exhausted and have been fruitless; therefore [with] our new policy - and we are running this policy 100% in accordance with the Turkish government, we are saying that new talks should be based on sovereign equality.

“We should have two equal and sovereign states in Cyprus: In the north, the Turkish Cypriot state; in the south, Greek Cypriot state.”

Tatar added that for a lasting solution there should be two states on the island, which would recognize each other.

Speaking with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Tatar said Monday that a possible solution on Cyprus must be established "on the basis of the two existing states and sovereign equality.”

A TRNC statement said Guterres would "prefer" a 5+UN informal meeting on Cyprus – both sides of Cyprus, the guarantor countries, and the UN – to be held in New York but due to the coronavirus pandemic the date and time has yet to be decided.

UK position on Cyprus issue

Also sending a message to the same online event, British Foreign Office’s Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas Wendy Morton said Britain supports a solution based on a “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.”

“As you all be aware, the UK continues to support comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation as set out in relevant security council resolutions,” Morton said.

“The eventual planning and the topics covered come at a time of increased focus on the UN process on a Cyprus settlement, which the UK continues to support.”

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Turkey's intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.

The TRNC was founded in 1983.

In 2004, the plan of then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a solution was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in twin referendums.

The 2017 Crans-Montana Conference in Switzerland held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the UK -- ended in failure.

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