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TRNC indebted to Pakistan for whole-hearted support

Turkish Cyprus Foreign Minister Tehsin Eetugruloglu says other OIC member states response to Cyprus problem disappointing; comes down heavy on EU for unilaterally accepting Greek side as EU member

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Tehsin Ertugruloglu the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has thanked Pakistan for whole-hearted support on the issue of Cyprus adding the rest of the Muslim world, unfortunately, was yet to pay heed to our difficulties.

The TRNC Minister expressed these views while talking to media people in Islamabad on Monday. He visited Islamabad to take part in the OIC extra ordinary session on Afghanistan. Minister Tehsin is a seasoned politicians and this is his fourth ministerial stint.

He further said, motherland Turkey and Pakistan have always been forthcoming whenever TRNC needed support. “ I would say categorically that Pakistan, among the OIC member countries, has a clear understanding of what is going on in the island. Minister Tehsin was all praise for people of Pakistan as well.

To a question about the recently held 5+1 talks, the minister said even before the beginning of the talks the TRNC side was convinced that nothing tangible will come out of this exercise only because of intransigence of the Greek side.

“As I had clearly mentioned during my Zoom interview with you a few months ago that if these talks fail, we will then go for international recognition. And I believe these talks have not produced desired results therefore there was no question of any further talks on this issue. As regards international recognition, the option was very much on the table,”he added.

He said we are only waiting for the UN Secretary General’s call who, after the 5+1 talks, told us that he will get in touch with TRNC government after finding some common grounds for further negotiations. But, hitherto there is no call from the UN Secretary General.

To yet another question about Azerbaijan and Pakistan recognizing TRNC, the minister said there is no doubt that they had unique relationship with these two countries however TRNC has not sought recognitions from Azerbaijan and Pakistan. “Both the countries are very close brothers and we do not want our brothers to be in any difficult situation because of us”, Mr. Tehsin added

He said the European Union did a great injustice with the people of TRNC when it unilaterally accepted the Greek part as member of the EU. It ostensibly disturbed balance of power in favour of the Greek side and literally killed the concept of equality. Now, under prevailing circumstances how can we have negotiations that are based on equality when the one side is already member of the European Union?

It may be mentioned here that the former Secretary General Kofi Annan had spearheaded a referendum in 2004 on the island in order to seek re-unification. Nevertheless the Greek side had rejected the plan by voting against it while the Turkish Cypriots had overwhelmingly (65 %) supported the UN Secretary General initiative by saying a big Yes. The Annan Plan had undergone five revisions before it reached its final version. The 5th revision proposed the creation of the United Republic of Cyprus, covering the island of Cyprus in its entirety except for the UK’s Sovereign Base Areas. This new country was to be a federation of two constituent states – the Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State – joined together by a federal government apparatus.

To yet another question about exploration of resources in the area, the Foreign Minister said, the Greek Cypriots have unilaterally licensed international oil companies to conduct hydrocarbon activities and they have passed a legislative bill to establish a so-called national investment fund to manage unilaterally the future capital income from hydrocarbon reserves. Moreover they have signed bilateral agreements with many countries regarding the delimitation of its unilaterally declared so called exclusive economic zone. As a result of Greek Cypriot side’s increasing unilateral actions, the Turkish Cypriot side has been obliged to take steps to protect its own rights and interests regarding the hydrocarbon resources around the island.

To a question about COVID situation in TRNC, the Foreign Minister said everyone is suffering and so is the TRNC. But daily cases in our country are less and number of deaths is very low, but then you know we are a small country. Our government is conscious about spread of virus and we are thankful to motherland Turkey for providing us the vaccines.

To yet another question he said he was looking forward to host Pakistani leadership, especially the Foreign Minister Qureshi in his country. Similarly he hoped the TRNC leadership would also pay a visit to Pakistan.

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