The United Nations (UN) have reported that they are monitoring the developments in Varosha/Maraş with concern. At a daily press conference, UN Secretary-General Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “I can say that we are closely following the developments in Maraş at the weekend”.
Yesterday, EU High Representative Josep Borrell expressed his regret at the reopening of the fenced-off Famagusta suburb of Varosha (Maraş) and the issuing of statements that contradict the United Nations’ principles on the Cyprus problem.
He said that these actions would only create immense distrust and tension in the region, urging that the decision to reopen Maraş be reversed as a matter of urgency.
President Tatar Responds
By way of response, President Ersin Tatar gave a lengthy interview while in Maraş to TRT World.
President Tatar repeated that the aim was to enable former property owners to return to Maraş, noting that their initiative had been supported by the former owners.
He emphasised that reopening the suburb would be the right and logical thing to do in terms of human rights. Tatar also reminded that Maraş lies within the TRNC’s borders.
“We openly call for the Greeks to return to their properties, to reopen their businesses if they wish, but all these will be within the borders of the TRNC”, President Tatar said.
Failure of Cyprus Negotiations
Regarding the Cyprus negotiations, Tatar said that there are too many differences of opinion between the parties and that the Greek Cypriots do not accept the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots.
“Political equality is one of the basic prerequisites for a permanent and sustainable solution, as you know“, he said, recalling that, in the past, the Greek Cypriot side had rejected many solution plans and proposals, such as the Annan Plan.
Referring to the last set of negotiations held in Crans-Montana, Switzerland in 2017, Tatar said that it had been accepted that this would be the last attempt to achieve a federal solution to the Cyprus problem and that an important opportunity had been lost.
Reminding that there are two separate peoples and two separate states in Cyprus, President Tatar stated that from now on, a two-state solution based on cooperation should be the focus in Cyprus.
The two states in Cyprus could cooperate on issues such as health, Tatar said, noting that recently, he had proposed cooperation with the Greek Cypriots by offering to 100 Greek Cypriot patients, the use of facilities in the new pandemic hospital in Nicosia, in view of the big spike in Covid-19 cases in the south. There are many areas for cooperation with the Greek Cypriot side, Tatar said and the Cyprus problem should now evolve with such cooperation models in mind and become more stable.
President Tatar said, “What I am saying is very clear. If you are realistic and sincere, there is no point in wasting any more time. Losing time means dashing people’s hopes“.
Responding to another question, Tatar stated that what the Greek Cypriots understand by a federal solution and what they basically want is not a bi-zonal and bi-communal structure, on the contrary, it is a centralised state.
Tatar warned that if there was a federal solution, all the order, laws and activities established by the Turkish Cypriots in the last 46 years would be destroyed, adding that the Greek Cypriots would use their international recognition and the advantage of EU membership against the Turkish Cypriots. “This is unacceptable to us“, he said.
Tatar stated that it would be impossible for the Turkish Cypriots to survive as a separate entity with the introduction of fundamental freedoms in the European Union in a possible federal solution; He said that Turkish Cypriots cannot protect themselves from the Greek Cypriots and other EU nations.
“In such a case, Greek Cypriots or Greeks will settle in North Cyprus, invest or buy property. We will remain vulnerable in such a situation and the Turkish Cypriot people will be swallowed up by the larger community”, he warned.
Immovable Property Commission
In response to a question about Maraş, President Tatar said that all steps to be taken would be in line with international law and UN Security Council resolutions, and that the property issue would be resolved by the Immovable Property Commission (IPC).
Reminding that a part of Maraş is the property of the Evkaf Foundation, Tatar said that the Foundation’s Administration will also apply to the Immovable Property Commission and that the necessary appraisals will be made.
President Ersin Tatar called on property owners in Maraş to apply to the IPC and underlined that no property in Maraş would be distributed to others for political and economic gain.
“Thus, we will not act contrary to international law or UN Security Council resolutions. The UN has observation points in the region, it would not bother us in any way that it continues to stay there. If they wish, they can also increase the number of observers ”.
Tatar also said that the decisions of the IPC should be accepted by the international community.
Recalling his meeting with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, President Tatar said that they had exchanged views and drawn attention to differences of opinion.
Tatar stated that Turkish Cypriots should govern themselves under the roof of their sovereign state and have the right to determine their own future, and emphasised that they would never accept being a minority in the Greek Cypriot community.
Tatar added that he had told Anastasiades that there are two states on the island and that they do not have to make an effort for a new formation.
Referring to the five-party conference, Tatar said that it would be useful for all parties at the meeting to put their views on the table.
Sharing Hydrocarbon Resources
Commenting on this issue hydrocarbons resources offshore Cyprus, Tatar said the Turkish Cypriots along with Turkey, will continue to resolutely protect their rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.