BY DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL SEP 23, 2022 –
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has called on Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members to formally recognize the equal sovereignty and international status of the country.
Speaking at the annual coordination meeting of the OIC held in New York, TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said: “The Turkish Cypriot people demand the official recognition of the TRNC and the reaffirmation of their vested rights, namely the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot State.”
Reiterating that more than 50 years have been lost in the negotiations on a federation in Cyprus, Ertuğruloğlu said that the Turkish Cypriot side declared it was time to explore other options on the island after the collapse of the Cyprus conference in Crans-Montana in July 2017 and told the OIC member states that the TRNC called for recognition.
“As the Turkish Cypriot side, we brought our new vision to the table at the Cyprus talks held in Geneva in April 2021, with the hope and belief that it will provide much-needed stability, security and cooperation in and around the island of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot side believes that an agreement within the framework of good neighborly relations on the island can be concluded between the two existing states on the basis of sovereign equality and equal international status. Therefore, the Turkish Cypriot people demand the official recognition of the TRNC and the reaffirmation of their vested rights, namely the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot State.”
He said that they expect the OIC member states to take concrete steps quickly to officially recognize the TRNC and to establish relations with the Turkish Cypriot state to help overcome the inhumane restrictions and embargoes imposed by the Greek Cypriot administration.
He described the Cyprus issue as a matter of status and added: “Confronting the challenges we face in today’s rapidly changing environment has become even more difficult than a year ago. This paradigm shift also applies to the Cyprus problem. The Cyprus issue has been and continues to be on the agenda of the international community for nearly 60 years. Because the whole issue, unfortunately, was misdiagnosed by the U.N. Security Council at first. The Cyprus issue is a status issue. The truth is that both peoples on the island are sovereign equals and any effort to resolve this issue must take this fact into account.”
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. 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 led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983. The TRNC is only officially recognized by Türkiye.
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 Türkiye, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N.’s Annan Plan to end the longstanding dispute.
Today, the Turkish side supports a solution based on the equal sovereignty of the two states on the island. On the other hand, the Greek side wants a federal solution based on the hegemony of the Greeks.
Türkiye, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots.