‘Proclamation of Northern Cyprus result of Greek refusal of sovereign equality’

If peace operation had not been carried out on Cyprus Island, it would have turned into Greek island, says TRNC president.

‘Proclamation of Northern Cyprus result of Greek refusal of sovereign equality’

The proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is a result of the Greek side's refusal to accept Turkish Cypriots’ sovereign equality, the TRNC’s president said Monday. 

“The proclamation of the TRNC on Nov. 15, 1983 is a result of the Greek Cypriot side's refusal to accept our sovereign equality, its refusal to share power and wealth with us, and the international community's hearing only the Greek side's voice,” Ersin Tatar said at a ceremony marking the 38th anniversary of the founding of the TRNC.

Tatar reminded that Turkey stopped the Greek junta, which declared the Hellenic State of Cyprus with a military coup on July 15, 1974, by using its effective and de facto guarantor right.

“If a peace operation had not been carried out in Cyprus [Island] on the morning of July 20 for our security of life, property and independence, Cyprus would have turned into a Greek island today,” he said.

Reiterating that the "federation" model, which has been the basis of negotiations for over 50 years, has been exhausted, he said: “It has also been recorded as our official position that we will not enter into a negotiation process until our sovereign equality and equal international status are accepted.”

“A just and sustainable solution in Cyprus can only be achieved based on the existing two states and the equal international status and sovereign equality of the two sides,” he said, adding they prefer finding solutions to the problems instead of stepping into new problems and an uncertain future on the island.

Maras region important in terms of human rights

On the partial reopening of Maras, or Varosha in Greek, Tatar said it has brought a new dimension to the Cyprus issue.

“Maras is under our sovereignty and is the territory of the TRNC,” he stressed, adding that it is also “extremely important in terms of human rights” that the right holders, who have not been able to use their properties for years, take care of their properties following the abolition of the military zone status.

Maras had virtually become a ghost town as it remained cut off from the world for some 47 years.

A portion of the region – just about 3.5% of the total area – has been reopened since last October, with people welcome to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

Underlining that while critical developments are taking place on the island and in the region, Tatar said the geopolitical situation in the Eastern Mediterranean has turned into a struggle over hydrocarbon resources.

He said the main goal is to liquidate the TRNC from the Eastern Mediterranean and so move Turkey away from the region.

"This situation has led to an intense and complex political struggle as well as the intensification of tensions and military activities,” he said, adding Greece and Greek Cypriots continue armament activities.

He expressed the country’s determination to protect its rights in the seas surrounding the island of Cyprus.

He reiterated their cooperation proposals to the Greek Cypriot side to benefit from the hydrocarbon riches around the island based on sovereign equality.

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

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 Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

Hüseyin Demir

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