President Mustafa Akinci delivered a speech yesterday on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the founding of the TRNC republic:
“Dear Citizens, I greet you with love and respect in the 34th year of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
“On such a day I commemorate our martyrs who sacrificed their lives so that we can exist freely in these lands, and have our own voice.
“On the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the year of November 15, 2016, the last time I spoke to you again with the authorisation I received from you, I expressed your best wishes and desires, like the last time, trying to provide the (Cyprus) solution you wanted, stating, “I hope that the Greek side will behave like us “, I said.
“My words continue; we stressed that we had no right to delay our responsibilities for our own homeland, even for one day, while struggling for a solution”
He went on to say that while they are working towards a solution to the Cyprus problem, they also work for the advancement of the TRNC in every field.
Akinci said that if the Greek Cypriot side changes its attitude and drops its maximalist demand for “zero troops, zero guarantees”, then a solution might be possible with the TRNC taking its place as an equal partner in a dignified solution.
With reference to the failure of the last Cyprus Conference at Crans-Montana, he said that the Greek Cypriot leadership had tried to create the perception that the conference’s only topic was ‘Security and Guarantees. They wilfully ignored other important elements contained in UN Secretary-General Guterres’ framework.
Following the conference, the UNSG issued a goodwill report on progress in Cyprus. President Akinci said that Guterres had tried to produce a balanced report by not apportioning blame for the failure of the conference on any particular side. However, Akinci felt that this was unfair to the Turkish Cypriots since they and Turkey had shown great flexibility.
“They also showed that they were not ready to share authority with Turkish Cypriots in a new federal structure by abandoning the sole ownership of the “Republic of Cyprus” they have held captive for years. Just as they rejected the Annan Plan in 2004”, he said.
Further, Akinci pointed out that the EU had said nothing when the first task of the Greek Cypriot side was to stop the activities of the EU Ad-Hoc committee, which was set up to ensure that the Turkish Cypriots were brought into alignment with the EU acquis.
Referring to the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots Akinci said:
“The United Nations, the European Union, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and other international organisations must realise that there is no longer any meaning in maintaining restrictive measures against our people. It is a complete dupe for the Greek Cypriot side to block all external relations of the Turkish Cypriot community and then complain about their increasing dependence on Turkey, which is its only open channel.”
Referring to renewed negotiations, the President said he did not believe in keeping the talks going for another 50 years. There needs to be a new approach, he said.
“I do not think that United Nations Secretary-General Guterres will invite us to the same endless negotiation process. It is clear that the outcome should focused, packaged, and requires a new kind of understanding.
“In order for all this to happen, of course, there is a need for a change in mentality that will bring a solution and, above all, the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots,” said Akinci.
The President went on to speak about the environment, traffic and healthcare and the need to improve the conditions of these. He went on to the topic of education, noting that there were now 16 universities opened. While they contributed to the country’s economy, it was important to maintain standards, he said. Akinci also noted that the education authorities should not succumb to political influences. He concluded by saying:
“I wish the elections, which will now take place on 7 January 2018, to be a good thing for you, our precious people. As President, I will certainly protect my independence and impartial position during this election period, as always.
“I believe that you will deal with it using your vast common sense, for our people.
“The emergence of a new Republican Council, which does not deviate from the path of righteousness and honesty, which keeps to the preliminary plan ahead of short term and personal interests, is undoubtedly also important for our state’s healthy progress.
“We will once again celebrate our Republic Day and offer you respect and love, with the new Assembly, which will be in the public interest and will take steps towards completing the legislation that will bring our people to contemporary norms, together with a stronger Turkish Republic of North Cyprus in the 35th year.”