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Renewing Our Call for a “Plan B” for Cyprus

Renewing Our Call for a “Plan B” for Cyprus

20 March, 2012

We, the Undersigned, demand that the United Nations (UN) takes a fresh approach to Cyprus. Further to our letter dated 4th October 2011to the United Nations ‘good offices’, supported by over 200 Turkish Cypriot civil society organisations representing over half a million Turkish Cypriots worldwide, we would like to renew our call that in the event that there is no comprehensive solution to the ‘Cyprus Problem’ by 30 June 2012, the human rights of the people of Northern Cyprus be invoked, and that the UN take a new approach to settle the issue outside the current framework of talks, one that takes into consideration the peaceful coexistence of two equal Peoples and two sovereign States on the island.

Your Excellency,

While we fully support the ‘good mission offices’ in search of a just and viable settlement to the ‘Cyprus Problem’, we renew our call for a fresh and bold approach towards Cyprus in light of the upcoming European Union (EU) term presidency of Greek Cypriots under the illegitimate title of the ‘Republic of Cyprus’. We respectfully submit that it is your responsibility to alert the Security Council and the international community that the Greek Cypriots have been prolonging the UN-led process by making stringent and unrealistic demands while imposing heavier sanctions on Turkish Cypriots, furthering their alienation. This is all in the hope that they will be able to get more concessions from the Turkish Cypriots. If there is no settlement or a referendum before the Greek Cypriots take over the term presidency of the EU, we do not see it justifiable nor in accordance with international law for the negotiation process to remain ‘frozen’ and ‘open-ended’ as the Turkish Cypriot People continue to be isolated from the rest of the world.

The international community must take all necessary steps to avoid a repeat of the disastrous circumstances that ensued in the aftermath of the ‘Annan Plan’ in 2004. The UN and the international community watched idly as the EU allowed a divided Cyprus to become a full member as the sole representative of the two Peoples on the island. To mitigate the negative impacts on the Turkish Cypriots and to reward their cooperation for the UN-sponsored unification plan—despite the major transformations it entailed—the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed Resolution 1376 (2004), which stated:

“The international community, in particular, the Council of Europe and the European Union, cannot ignore or betray the expressed desire of the majority of Turkish Cypriots for greater openness and should take rapid and appropriate steps to encourage it. The Turkish Cypriots' international isolation must cease.”

Further, the European Council of Foreign Ministers in its decision of 26 April 2004 expressed its determination “…to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots” and the EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunther Verheugen stated that “...now we have to end the isolation of the North. The Commission is ready to take various measures for that aim”. The failure of the EU to realise these promises, as well as its failure to recognise the injustices endured by the Turkish Cypriots, have made it clear that the rights of Turkish Cypriots are being evaded and violated on a sad track of discrimination by diplomacy.

We believe that the continuous neglect of the plight of the Turkish Cypriot People by the international community is serving as a de-motivating factor for the Greek Cypriots to find a solution to the ‘Cyprus Problem’ and making the People of Northern Cyprus lose trust in the global community. The Greek Cypriots continue to enjoy international recognition, economic prosperity, access to natural resources and bilateral and multilateral relationships, including full membership to the EU and other international institutions, even in the absence of a comprehensive settlement. The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, are either forced to migrate due to dire economic conditions or to live under an unrecognised State, finding consolation in nothing but the security provided by the democratic and sovereign Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Your Excellency,

We plead to you to advise the Security Council to end four decades of isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People and to remove all the barriers that prevent Northern Cyprus from forming social, economic and political relations with the rest of the world as envisaged by the Fundamental Charter that established the UN. We further demand that the human rights of Turkish Cypriots be restored immediately and unconditionally as stipulated by Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948):

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, 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.”

The call to the members of the Security Council to end the unfair isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People is timely and just, as expressed by your predecessor, former Secretary General H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, who made a similar advice in the UN Report (S/2004/437) dated 28 May 2004, after Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the ‘Annan Plan’ to unify Cyprus:

“The Turkish Cypriot vote has undone any rationale for pressuring and isolating them. I would hope that the members of the Council can give a strong lead to all states to co-operate both bilaterally and in international bodies, to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development.”

In light of the above, we, the Undersigned, would like to reiterate that we wish to see the two leaders reach a conclusive agreement by 30 June 2012 and we remain committed to assist them in the ongoing negotiations. If the meetings, however, do not lead to a settlement by the time the Greek Cypriots take over the term presidency of the EU, we demand a paradigm shift by the UN to incentivise the two sides for a lasting solution by putting all options on the table. This should include, but not be limited to, the removal of all economic, social and political sanctions on Turkish Cypriots; elevation of the international status of the TRNC; and ‘negotiation for partition’ toward coexistence of two separate, sovereign and fully recognized States in Cyprus.

Yours sincerely,

Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad and the enclosed list of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot civil society organizations


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