A few days ago, in a report published in ‘Halkin Sesi’ newspaper, the UK’s new High Commissioner Stephen Lillie, after presenting his credentials to the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades said: “Our government will continue to support a just, democratic and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem.” Writing for Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Halkin Sesi’, journalist Arman Ratip writes that the British said the same thing forty years ago. There is no logic behind this statement. However, what the Greek Cypriot Republic said as a result of the new High Commissioner’s speech is a clear statement of how far behind its understanding of the Cyprus problem is Britain as a guarantor state.
He writes: Look what the new British High Commissioner said: “A united Cyprus will achieve greater things.” These words indicate that the British High Commission has not understood the developments and lasting changes in Cyprus over the past 35 years. British Foreign Affairs continue to convey the same views like a stuck record. This view and British policy support the Greeks as always. The English, “United Cypriot” policy is exactly as the Greek Cypriots have described it.
Such opinions are those that cannot accept that there are two separate states on the island, and do not take account of the facts. [After] thirty-five years of independence, the sovereign TRNC State has to re-iterate the facts.
Hatip writes: Now, I did not recall seeing that attitude from a British Prime Minister years ago. I asked this Prime Minister, “What kind of solution do you expect in Cyprus?” This Prime Minister repeated the same policy, However, at least said, “The two peoples will decide what kind of solution they want in Cyprus” and never mentioned a “united Cyprus”. In the meantime, English politics can speak of the “united Cyprus” that the Greeks dream of. In this case, the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs should respond immediately to such a solution. We do not have any leadership [on this issue] yet. The British should be reminded that the TRNC State was founded 35 years ago and declared its independence. It is necessary to point out that this state is valid within the framework of International Law.
What do we mean when we talk about foreign affairs and foreign relations? If we do not come up with any new policy to demand recognition, the British and other states will always think that the Turkish Cypriots can agree on a federal solution with the Greeks. Here’s the trick. If we do not tell foreigners, including the British, that the TRNC State has existed with its own borders for the past 35 years, they will always continue to support the Greeks. It is necessary to emphasise this truth. Unfortunately, we can not say that we, as the state and the government, are doing this at this time.
He concludes by urging the TRNC Foreign Ministry to speak up on behalf of the independent sovereign state it represents. A consistent policy needs to be in place to continuously send the message. Otherwise the same framework to solve the Cyprus problem will be pursued – the reunification of the island under a federal umbrella. “Then we will never get equality. I am sure that nobody wants this situation. We need to help the British see the facts,” he concludes.
Arman Ratip – Halkin Sesi