New sports coordination office being turned into political football: PM says

Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, speaking on ADA TV, has argued that the overseas youth coordination office has turned into an instrument of politics aimed at alienating Turkey from the Turkish Cypriot people and described this as wrong and dangerous.

Evaluating the issue, Ozgurgun said that “this office is solely aimed at contributing to the youth and sports of the TRNC. It is an international agreement which was signed with motherland Turkey and which aims at providing support and funding to our sports in accordance with our projects.”

He complained, however, that although he tried to explain the task of the office, there were some circles who did not want to understand. “You cannot explain to those who do not want to understand. How can you force someone to understand? You can’t. The General Secretary of the Greek Cypriot AKEL Party also made a statement on the issue. How can you explain to those who want to act with them?” Ozgurgun also said.

Stating that a strong infrastructure had been created by passing the agreement through the parliaments of both countries, he pointed out that the coordination office will serve to develop Turkish Cypriot sports and youth projects through a law to be enacted by the TRNC prime ministry.

Stressing the need for the Turkish Cypriot people to understand the concept clearly, Ozgurgun added: “Would I, as prime minister give my mandate, my authorities to someone else? I wouldn’t. However I am not going to explain anything to those who act with the General Secretary of AKEL. Their aim is clear. The Turkish Cypriot people should clearly see this scenario. This is only a support office for youth and sports.”

He further argued that in accordance to the agreement, no project or investment which does not have the approval of the TRNC will be carried out.

Since we shall be the ones giving the approval and since we shall be the ones carrying out the project at our own facilities, then we shall be having full authority and control. It could not be any other way”, he said.

Responding to a question regarding claims that the staff of the youth coordination office will be granted diplomatic immunity, Ozgurgun said that similar immunity had been granted to the EU Coordination Office.

Those working in the coordination office will be able to benefit from diplomatic rights. The same rights were granted to staff working at the EU coordination office. Does that mean that those at the EU coordination office can do whatever they want? Did we hand over any authority there? No. There is nothing to be concerned about at the youth and coordination office. More importantly we have signed this agreement with motherland Turkey. If there is something that we are not happy about we shall be amending it with an additional protocol”, he added.


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