Letter to UN Secretary-General from 100 NGOs representing 500,000 Turkish Cypriots worldwide

As part of a collective of over 100 NGOs worldwide, the following statement has been issued to the Secretary-General ahead of his meeting with President Dervis Eroğlu and the leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration, Dimitris Christofias, to be held in Geneva on the 26th of January 2011.

Your Excellency,

Support for Ongoing Negotiations

We, the Undersigned, as non-government and civil society organisations, representing over half a million displaced Turkish Cypriots worldwide, have consistently given our support and will continue to support the ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive settlement on the island of Cyprus, on the basis of equality between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Peoples on the island, and on the basis that the TRNC President, and negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot People, is allowed to uphold the Turkish Cypriot People’s humanitarian and constitutional rights as equal co-founder partners in Cyprus.

The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora wants to see ongoing, substantial and productive negotiations for a comprehensive solution and the conclusion of such a solution without further delay. We support our TRNC President, who openly demands an agreement based on a new Partnership State composed of two equal sovereign States. A negotiated plan must be fair, based on bi-communal, bi-zonal structure incorporating the existence of two States. The United Nations Secretary-General made it clear in 1992 (UN doc. S/24472) that:

“Sovereignty of the central government emanates equally from both communities. One community cannot claim sovereignty over the other”.

The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora will not accept any possibility of the Turkish Cypriot People being pushed into minority status in Cyprus’ new state of affairs. We insist on political sovereign equality as set out in the Set of Ideas, with the States retaining the sovereign powers which have not been bestowed on the central government. We will not consent to any agreement that tampers with the effective guarantor status of Turkey provided for by the Zurich and London Agreements. We can only support a solution that acknowledges and conforms to the realities on the island.

Provision for a Plan B

We, the Undersigned, would like to see the two leaders make considerable progress toward reaching a conclusive agreement by the end of January 2011 during the current negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations. We will continue to support them in any way we can to make sure a fair, viable and permanent resolution which acknowledges the sovereign status of the Turkish Cypriot People is reached by this date.

However, if the high level meetings in January 2011 conclude that a solution is remote, we feel the current talks should cease to proceed, at least under their current basis. The failure to reach a negotiated settlement would prove once again that the two sides are not able to reconcile their differences to come to an agreement under a federal structure. As such, alternative and perhaps more realistic and practical solution plans must be considered for the island of Cyprus.

Given that past and recent public opinion polls in both the North and South of the island, as referenced in the UNSG Ban Ki-Moon’s report dated November 2010, show that the two Peoples of the island are more inclined to accept a two State solution following certain adjustments, and the UN and the International Community have always stressed that they support a solution for Cypriots and by Cypriots, (meaning the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Peoples on the island of Cyprus) a new basis for the negotiations should be formed. A “Plan B” that has the overwhelming support of both Peoples of the island will surely be the only realistic approach to overcoming the generations old dispute on the island of Cyprus. Given the decades of isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People and their subsequent displacement all over the world, if the talks fail, or there is no substantial and genuine progress made by the end of January 2011 during the current negotiations under UN auspices, then immediate and new direct action should be formulated. The Turkish Cypriot People should not be let down again and be misled by unfulfilled promises as had been done in the 2004 Annan Plan referendum. Indeed, neither are Turkish Cypriots or Turkey a member of the European Union. Moreover, while Turkish Cypriots have in no substantial measure been recognised for their courage and goodwill in voting for reunification under the Annan Plan, the Greek Cypriots have been rewarded for their intransigence. A two-State solution should be proposed based on the lessons of the past and the existing realities on the island. The unjust isolation and restrictions to which Turkish Cypriots are being subjected cannot continue. A two State solution should be proposed based on the past experience and the existing reality on the island. The unjust isolations and restrictions we are being subjected to cannot continue indefinitely and a solution must be achieved immediately.

The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora desires to end their refugee status, return to their homeland, and live under their own internationally recognised State. We believe strongly that it is the paramount duty of the TRNC President, as the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, to work to ensure that all Turkish Cypriots, at home and abroad, be given the freedom and power to determine for themselves their future and the future of their homeland.

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