Turkey’s Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) held a virtual panel discussion Tuesday titled “Two-State Solution Proposal Under the Framework of the United Nations in Cyprus.”  

Speaking during the discussion via video link, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar underscored the importance of the 1960 agreement, which would provide equal rights to all residents of the island.

Tatar said the international treaty was signed by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, and thus the international community also accepts Turkish Cypriots’ position as equal partners of the island.

Continuing for nearly 52 years, the negotiations are focused on a federal solution, Tatar said, adding both sides have different views on such a solution.

“We share our main policy, the two-state solution, with the whole world. What is this? This is a matter of sovereignty. We no longer want to share our sovereignty,” Tatar said.

He also noted that Turkish Cypriots desire to live as an independent sovereign republic in cooperation with Turkey.

Speaking at the online event, YTB Chairman Abdullah Eren vowed to continue supporting Turkish Cypriots and their struggle towards a two-state solution.

“We have been endeavoring to carry out activities for nearly 40 years in the fields of education, culture and social so the Turkish Cypriots’ cause is heard globally,” Eren said.

In this perspective, at least 92 students from the TRNC received scholarships in 2020 from Turkey and more than 1,000 students are receiving an education at Turkish universities, he added.

Noting that there is a significant number of the Turkish Cypriot diaspora in the UK, Eren said many Turkish Cypriot youths were brought to the TRNC to see their homeland for the first time, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added that the project will continue once the pandemic ends.

The panel discussion also included prominent experts on the Cyprus matter including former legal advisor of the TRNC Presidency Taner Erginel, the TRNC Presidency’s special advisor of International Relations and Diplomacy Huseyin Isiksal, and former political and diplomatic advisor of the TRNC Presidency Soyalp Tamcelik.

Erginel stressed the necessity of two separate states on the long-disputed island.

“We must act at once to have the TRNC be acknowledged [as a state globally]…Either you recognize this state or we will become an autonomous region of the Republic of Turkey.”

Additionally, Tamcelik said the negotiations in the scope of a federal solution are no longer relevant and underscored the significance of protecting the existence of Turkish Cypriots and protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots within and around the Island.

He urged an immediate lifting of sanctions on the TRNC while opening air and sea borders for trade. The former political and diplomatic advisor also noted that the TRNC must be integrated into the international system.

Isiksal said the country was not given any options with the UN’s Annan plan.

“The current status quo is unacceptable and harms both sides,” he said.

Similarly to other panelists, Isiksal also noted that it is “inevitable” for Turkish Cypriots to gain their legal status.

“If any side gains the upper hand over the political arrangement in Cyprus, it will worsen the already existing instability in the region,” he added.

Cyprus has been divided into the TRNC in the north and the Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup that aimed to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 put an end to years of persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

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