The solution of the Cyprus problem is vital to the Turkish Cypriots, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Mehmet Ali Talat, has said. If the Turkish Cypriots vote ‘no’ in the referendum, “we will be pushed into a deep isolation”, he argued.
Talat who was visiting Guzelyurt, within the framework of regional meetings he launched, in order to brief the people regarding the ongoing negotiations.
He said that the effect of the Turkish Cypriots voting ‘no’ is not the same as the Greek Cypriots voting ‘no’. This is because “the Turkish Cypriots are outside international law and no one except Turkey recognises the TRNC”. He argued that the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots had become very intense after the TRNC declared its unilateral declaration of independence, which was described as illegal by the UN Security Council. He said that the isolation decreased somewhat, after the Turkish Cypriots voted ‘yes’ to the Annan Plan and thus they were able to export some products to Europe via Turkey. They began making more international contacts and the European Court of Human Rights took decisions in their favour.
Referring to the ongoing negotiating process, Talat argued that a “natural time limit” had emerged because of the parliamentary elections to be held in May 2016 in South Cyprus. He noted that it was understood that the solution of the problem will benefit all sides and if there is no solution by May, matters will become more difficult. He said that serious progress has been made on important issues and described the property as the “more complex issue on the agenda”.
Talat noted that the only thing agreed on this issue is the establishment of a Property Commission composed of equal numbers of Greek and Turkish Cypriots who will evaluate the issues according to certain criteria. He said that the criteria have not been agreed and there are only rumours around on the topic. [Reports in the Turkish and Greek Cypriot press say that there are between 24 – 26 criteria agreed so far. Ed.]
“The property issue is on the table”, he said and added: “When it is completed the map will be on the table and the borders of the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot founding states will be determined with that map. Security and guarantees is an international dimension and it will be discussed at an international conference with the participation of the guarantor powers. The talks are continuing on a positive basis” he said.
Responding to a question, Talat said that there will be a new constitution which will be submitted to referendum. “The property regime will be regulated accordingly”, he noted and added that the title deeds given by the TRNC are valid and have been registered according to internal law and will be taken into consideration in the new adjustment. “They will be a valid document, perhaps not for the continuation of the use of the property, but for covering the losses in case that property can no longer be occupied”, he explained.