Time for Plan B Proposal for Cyprus Negotiations

Tuesday 4th October 2011: As part of a collective of over 110 NGOs worldwide, the following statement has been issued to the Secretary-General ahead of his meeting with President Derviş Eroğlu and the leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration, Dimitris Christofias, to be held on 30th and 31st October 2011.

Time for Plan B Proposal for Cyprus Negotiations

Your Excellency,

Further to our letter sent to your good offices in January 2011, over two hundred Turkish Cypriot non-government and civil society organisations from the UK, USA, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Australia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Netherlands and Austria collectively undersigned a statement for ongoing but conditional support for the UN led negotiations. The undersigned also proposed an alternative Plan B in the event there is no tangible progress within the all-important de-facto time limit.

Your Excellency, the hopes of all Turkish Cypriots for a comprehensive settlement had been raised at the start of these negotiations nearly three years ago, but with regret, your recent call to the two leaders to intensify the talks resulted in your words of, “progress has been far too slow”.

The failure to converge on a negotiated settlement has again proved that the two sides cannot reconcile their differences to come to an agreement. As such, an alternative solution must now be considered to settle the Cyprus issue. The Turkish Cypriot People will only support a solution that acknowledges and conforms to the realities on the island. This has been evidenced in the general and presidential elections held in the TRNC in April 2009 and April 2010, respectively. The March 2010 survey of the „Cyprus Social and Economic Research Centre” (KADEM) has also concluded that a majority of Turkish Cypriots want two separate states, undiluted bizonality, and a regulation in the property system that will not breach the principle of bizonality. The survey also concluded that there was a fundamental decrease in the level of trust with international organisations and the EU, who have despite numerous promises, failed to remove the inhumane isolations prevailing on the people of the TRNC.

UN Responsibilities

Your Excellency,

We fully understand and appreciate the need for diplomacy but we also expect the Secretary General to accept the UN’s part in influencing and, to some extent, preventing the conclusion of the Cyprus problem. We expect the UN to recognise and take responsibility for the problems caused by their 1964 actions, when they handed the governance of the island solely to the Greek Cypriots. Since 1963 the Turkish Cypriot people have been held hostage with the intention of being starved into submission. The Security Council Resolution 186 passed on 4th March 1964 added to that siege and has cost the Turkish Cypriot people dearly.

Should no agreement be achieved by your expected timeframe of October 2011, we will expect the UN to play an active role in encouraging the international community to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people within the framework of a Plan B. We feel the time is right for the UN to address the inequalities and act in a fair and just way.

It must accept the realities of the island with two states and two peoples and revisit the resolutions made in the past against the Turkish Cypriot people that has undoubtedly given the Greek Cypriots the upper hand at an international level.

The Greek Cypriot side are against a time scale limit on the talks as evidenced by the consistent rejection by Mr. Christofias to have any timetable or time limit for the process.

Whilst the Turkish side is eager in wanting a timetable for the talks due to its sincere approach of wanting a comprehensive settlement. We believe that the Greek Cypriot side will not allow for any time limit because of two reasons. The first is to use their „recognition” in the world to attain unfair advantages that can be used to affect the solutions process. The second is due to the nearing EU term presidency in the second half of 2012.

A Plan B, supported by the UN, must include a new strategy of bringing the Turkish Cypriot People to the political level of the Greek Cypriot side and prevent the opportunity to drag the talks on using the UN as a shield against progress. The Turkish Cypriots must be able to negotiate as an equal partner with the same respect and courtesy that has been afforded to the Greek Cypriots since 1964. We also believe that a Plan B will in the long term foster better relations between the two sides, allow for the development of the TRNC and make it easier for a settlement and the harmonisation of the two sides that will be on a more equal political and economic level.

It is quite clear that diplomacy has not achieved anything to relieve the injustices practised upon the Turkish Cypriot People for almost 50 years. We are sure that the Secretary General”s good offices are aware of this situation but we urge you to take a strong and determined stand to help international justice prevail.

The Turkish Cypriot people want an end to their international isolation; to be able to travel and trade freely, to have a right to life and to invoke the provisions of the International Convention of Human Rights 1948, Article 2, that requires:

“…no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty”.

Thank you.

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