The people who have suffered the most damage after over 50 years of Cyprus negotiations are the Turkish Cypriots, former President Derviş Eroğlu has said. Therefore, it makes no sense to insist on a federal formula to solve the Cyprus problem, he said.
He emphasised that it would be very wrong to agree to start negotiations using the Guterres framework. “The Turkish side must first declare that embargoes and isolations should be lifted first, otherwise they will not participate in any process, and that they will not contribute”, Eroğlu said.
The Cyprus negotiations, which began on 3 June 1968 in Beirut, have reached their 50th year today.
Eroğlu stated that he was 30 years old when the negotiations started and that he was ready to go to Ankara with his wife and daughter to do practice his specialisation in medicine – urology. “I could not hope for a general agreement at that time. The main target in the struggle was to obtain our independence”, he said.
Addressing the reasons why the Cyprus problem has continued to be unresolved for such a long time, Eroğlu said, “It is necessary to look at what is around the island, what states are present and what problems are experienced.
“To know history well, historical events must be evaluated in terms of cause and effect. At the heart of the Cyprus issue is Greece’s expansionist dreams. Some countries have also benefited from this and wanted to shape Cyprus in their own interests. For example, according to our some of our leading historians and politicians, Cyprus was part of the British Empire, as a Military occupation from 1914–1925, and a Crown colony from 1925–1960. Cyprus became an independent nation in 1960. Former leader of the UBP and former speaker of the Assembly, Osman Orek, who took part in the 1959-1960 negotiations, had this view. According to the Greek Cypriots, Britain should accept the plebiscite of 1950 and the result of Enosis coming out of it because of the right of self-determination. The island should be linked to Greece. But what did Britain do? Turkey, Greece and also became involved in the business, in 1960, establishing the Republic of Cyprus. In the meantime, the UK acquired two military bases on the island. Today, there is still a 100 square mile British-owned territory.”
Eroğlu emphasised that since 1968, the reason why the Cyprus issue has not been resolved is that despite the reality, the Greeks see the Cypriot Turks as a minority.
He said, “But if they come out and speak the truth, the problem will be solved, but this will not happen. Because it does not work, there are two people and two states in Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots are not a minority. The state of the Turkish Cypriots does not say that at least the Greek Cypriot Republic is as uncomfortable as the state they created by usurping the Republic of Cyprus with arms. Why? It has different answers in terms of USA, UK and Russia, but eventually they all come to the same door: the status quo is still in operation.”
Eroğlu went on to assert that the British may have a sneaky desire to see the continuation of the status quo because they fear that if there is a solution, the question of British bases on Cyprus could become debatable.
Eroğlu said that the Greek Cypriots do not recognise the Turkish Cypriots as equals and that their main goal is to abolish Turkey’s unilateral right of intervention. This is the main stumbling block in the Cyprus negotiations. “The Turkish Cypriots should know that without security there is no meaning and value to a settlement. Our only security is the continuation of Turkey’s effective and de facto guarantees”.
Recalling that the Greek Cypriots rejected the solution once again in Crans-Montana in 2017, as they did with the Annan Plan in 2004, Eroğlu said that, as stated in the Annan report presented to the UN Security Council on May 28, 2004, the Greek Cypriots rejected the solution, they will continue to refuse any suggestions as far as they can.
He said that the solution to Greek Cypriot minds, is to remove Turkish soldiers from the island, Turkey’s guarantor status to be revoked, and to return to pre-1974 conditions. As long as they maintain this mindset, they will collapse all negotiations. While the world is not sanctioning them, they continue to punish the Turkish Cypriots, why should they not? Eroğlu asked.
Bearing in mind that the federal solution was an imposition by the outside world rather than by the Turkish Cypriots, Eroğlu concluded that, “Denktaş and Clerides were not a hundred percent in favour of a federal solution. Makarios rejected it. In our case, after politicisation, some left-wing parties stuck to the federation. When we established the state, they said it was a mistake and they tried to spread the belief that ‘the federal solution is the only solution’.”
Former President Eroğlu stated that policies can change according to the conditions of the day and that changes must be made as well, he continued as follows:
“We have 50 points of view, we cannot agree on one. Are we still going to say ‘a federation a must’? If we continue like this, neither the embargoes on our side will be lifted, nor will our steps be accepted by the world. If you are the one who is hurt by politics you follow, you have to change matters. Who is the party who suffered 50 years of negotiations? Turkish Cypriots. So in the same way, there is no point in insisting on a federation.”
Reiterating that the old formulas must not be revisited in an effort to solve the Cyprus problem, Eroğlu stated that it is extremely wrong to agree to start negotiations within the Guterres framework and that such a process will not save the Turkish Cypriots.
He said, “The Turkish side must first declare that embargoes and isolations should be removed or they will not participate or contribute to any process unless otherwise stated. If a process is to begin, it must be a closed process that is agreed and declared from the outset in the short run. The Greek Cypriot side should not continue to adhere to the use of the negotiation process to usurp our rights”.
Eroğlu said Turkey’s active and actual guarantees to the TRNC should never be allowed to end.
“We may have economic and social problems but we cannot make concessions with the state, with sovereignty, freedom and security, because they exist. I am convinced that our people have seen the facts over time and understand that there can be no agreement with the Greeks in their present course. Tomorrow is the TRNC. As long as we are united, let’s keep together and raise the level of prosperity of the TRNC”, Eroğlu concluded.
TAK News Agency