The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora Unite for a Solution

The Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad (ATCA), as part of a collective of over 60 Turkish Cypriot NGOs in the UK, has sent this message to all the candidates running for the imminent Presidential elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The message is as follows:

As non-government and civil society organisations representing over half a million displaced Turkish Cypriots worldwide, we support the ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue. However, the Turkish Cypriot Diaspora want to be informed regularly of actual progress and intentions in any future negotiations made by the newly elected President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

It is one of our primary roles to make sure that the future TRNC President and negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot people upholds the people’s humanitarian and constitutional rights in Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora desires a strong leader at the negotiating table who is fundamentally in support of the existence of the TRNC and its elevation globally.

As Turkish Cypriots living abroad, it is in our best interest to unite and fight with our brothers for the TRNC’s continuation and ultimate worldwide recognition. Many thousands of the Turkish Cypriot Diaspora want to end their refugee status and return to their homeland which will hopefully come to be internationally recognised. The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora wants to see ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive solution. However, a future plan must also be fair and similarly based on a Bi- Communal, Bi-Zonal structure based on “Two Founding States”. Our intention is not to accept anything but equal status with the Greek Cypriots at the negotiating table. We support a TRNC President who openly states that the agreement will be based on a new partnership state. We do not support current proposals giving Greek Cypriots 20-30% cross-voting in our elections without equal voting rights for our own kin and the Turkish Cypriot Diaspora.

The Turkish Cypriot Diaspora believe that more pressure should be brought on the UK to give its unconditional support for the removal of the inhumane isolation inflicted on the Turkish Cypriots of Northern Cyprus and to assist in an unbiased way for an overall solution. This would not only assist in the search for an amicable, workable and long lasting resolution to the Cyprus problem, but would also add to its approval of Turkey’s EU entry.

We would like to insist that the Turkish Cypriots need to be compensated for the last 47 years of being placed under severe restrictions on trade, travel and inward investment without any legal justification. The Turkish Cypriots have received virtually no benefit from the international subsidies given to the Greek Cypriot Administration over the past 40 years, and even today when the EU is willing to make grants to Turkish Cypriots, the grants are obstructed by the Greek Cypriots. We would hope that the future TRNC President help put an immediate end to the embargoes and insist that the UK give financial support to the Turkish Cypriots to boost their economy to the same level as that of the Greek Cypriots. Furthermore, that compensation be given for the failure of the UK Government over 47 years to discharge its obligations to the Turkish Cypriots as a Guarantor of the 1960 Constitution. This must be bilateral aid and it must be channelled through the United Nations and given directly to Turkish Cypriots.

Our future TRNC President should reiterate that Turkish and Greek Cypriots are quite distinct from each other: they have a different religion; a different language; a different culture. It should be the purpose of the future TRNC President to ensure that all Turkish Cypriots, home and abroad, be given the freedom and power to decide for themselves what their future status will be. Turkish Cypriots living abroad should also have the right to vote in governmental & presidential elections and referendums under regulations put in place after full consultation with Turkish Cypriots living abroad.

We will not support a unitary state based on single citizenship or single sovereignty and will not accept minority status. We have to insist on the basis of political equality, and the active and effective guarantorship of Turkey for any future sustainable peace. We support a solution which conforms to the realities of the island. We concur with the Declaration made by the Turkish Security Council which “supports a solution based on the realities of the island”. Future negotiations and settlement talks are fully supported by us. However, the unjust isolations and restrictions we are being subjected to cannot continue indefinitely and a comprehensive solution must be achieved such as those suggested in this statement.

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