Cyprus Today

President calls on Sunak to support two-state solution


PRESIDENT Ersin Tatar has called on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “end the Cyprus merry-go-round” and support a two-state solution on the island – but fell short of demanding all-out recognitio­n of the TRNC.

Mr Tatar, writing for British tabloid the Daily Express during his visit to the UK earlier this week, said that he was in Britain to “set out the Turkish Cypriot side’s new forward-looking vision for a solution in Cyprus that is based on the sovereign equality and equal internatio­nal status of the two sides”.

He said the island is home to “two sovereign peoples, the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, neither of whom can rule over or represent the other”.

“In short there is no such thing as a ‘Cypriot’ nation,” Mr Tatar wrote. “For example, we both have our own flags, national anthems and parliament­s.”

In the article Mr Tatar explained that the impasse in Cyprus has its roots in the 1950s “when the Greek Cypriots began a campaign to annex the island with Greece (Enosis) during British colonial rule”.

He continued: “The Eoka terrorists who fought for Enosis murdered 371 British soldiers in what was known as the Cyprus Emergency between 1955 and 1959. The Turkish Cypriots, however, remained loyal to the United Kingdom.”

Referring to a statement to the House of Commons made by Britain’s Secretary of State for the Colonies Alan Lennox-Boyd in December 1956, in which Mr

Lennox-Boyd said that the Turkish Cypriots had just as much right as the Greek Cypriots to self-determinat­ion and that partition of the island must be included as a possible solution, Mr Tatar wrote that “our right to self-determinat­ion is thus rooted in history”.

He noted that “shortly after, the Greek Cypriot side usurped the partnershi­p of the Republic of Cyprus and created a unilateral Greek Cypriot administra­tion in 1963 by force of arms” and that “for the next 11 years, the Turkish Cypriots were then subjected to the horrors of ethnic cleansing”.

It was “only thanks to the Turkish Peace Operation in 1974 that the bloodshed ended and peace

and stability was achieved”, with this “new-found peace” eventually leading to “the establishm­ent of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that we see today”.

However Mr Tatar made no demand in the article for the UK to recognise the TRNC as a separate state, despite September’s “historic” call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for other countries to recognise the TRNC during a speech to fellow world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr Tatar’s article continued by stating that in the decades since 1974, the Greek Cypriot side rejected 15 settlement plans and ideas, in particular the UN’s proposals in 2004 and 2017, “despite arduous efforts by the Turkish side to reach a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem”.

“The Greek Cypriots continue to pay lip service . . . for a solution but have in fact refused every opportunit­y that has been presented to them,” Mr Tatar pointed out.

He wrote that the internatio­nal community should now deliver on its promises made in 2004, such as by the late UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and by Britain, “to finally allow us to trade and travel directly from our own country”.

He also called for an end to the “ban on our youth from participat­ing in internatio­nal sports tournament­s such as the Olympics” and “for us to be able to sell items such as our worldrenow­ned potatoes and citrus fruits under the banner of Northern Cyprus”.

Making a call to the UK and Mr Sunak, Mr Tatar wrote: “For the UK specifical­ly, we would encourage a fresh new approach towards the Turkish Cypriot people – to treat us on an equal footing.

“Using the greater flexibilit­y of Brexit, it is time to start to normalise relations on areas such as trade and police cooperatio­n.

“I am confident that anything which helps to reduce the disparitie­s with the Greek Cypriot side will ultimately help with the search for a solution.

“In short, the merry-go round must end. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots should get off: it’s a farce. We need a fresh agenda and fresh opportunit­ies for both peoples of the island of Cyprus – for peace, security and prosperity.”

In August Mr Tatar said during an exclusive interview with Cyprus Today that he felt “let down” by the UK – in particular by former High Commission­er Stephen Lillie – for what he said was the country’s failure to help ease the economic isolation of North Cyprus following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Not long after the interview Mr Sunak angered many in August during the Conservati­ve Party leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson when he wrote a letter of support to the pro-Greek Cypriot Conservati­ve Friends of Cyprus group.

In the letter he described Turkey’s 1974 military interventi­on to prevent the annexation of the island to Greece and the annihilati­on of Turkish Cypriots as an “invasion”.

He also called on the Turkish Cypriot side to “refrain from provocativ­e actions” and praised the “willingnes­s” of Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiad­es to “resume negotiatio­ns”.

Asked for a response to Mr Tatar’s article, a spokesman for the British High Commission in Cyprus said the High Commission “does not wish to comment on Mr Tatar’s article”.


During his visit to the UK from last Saturday to Tuesday, which had originally been scheduled to end on Monday, Mr Tatar, who was accompanie­d by his wife Sibel Tatar and a number of officials, took part in a series of events and meetings, before returning to the TRNC on Wednesday morning.

They included a meeting organised by the All-Party Parliament­ary Group for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the House of Lords, a public meeting with Turkish Cypriots in Wood Green, north London, and a visit to the West End office of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

The President also attended a dinner given in his honour by the Turkish Ambassador to London, Ümit Yalçın, visited the North Cyprus stand at the World Travel Market tourism fair at London’s ExCel exhibition centre, and had a meeting with Brooks Newmark, a former UK minister.

However no meetings took place between Mr Tatar and anyone from the British government, such as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, despite the hospitalit­y shown by Mr Tatar to former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab when he crossed over to the TRNC to meet the President during a visit to Cyprus in February 2021.

 ?? ?? President Ersin Tatar standing next to peers Lord Sharkey, left, and Lord Northbrook, right, during his visit to London
President Ersin Tatar standing next to peers Lord Sharkey, left, and Lord Northbrook, right, during his visit to London

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