No troop withdrawal from TRNC: Erdogan

Speaking at a joint press conference in Brussels with the President of the European Parliament (EP), Martin Schulz on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said that Turkey has always constructively supported the TRNC’s approach to the Cyprus settlement process. Erdogan said:

“We think that Greece, because it is a guarantor power, should also support this process in the same manner. In particular, our fundamental principle is a federal structure based on two founding states. The acceptance of anything outside this is in any case out of the question”, so reports Turkish Cypriot online newspaper ‘Diyalog’.

The Turkish PM said that the negotiations should be held with good will and commented that the Greek Cypriot side should not run away from the negotiations.

Referring to the issue of the Turkish troops in the TRNC, Erdogan argued:

“Those who try to lead us to different places are behaving in the wrong way. For example, they told us something else today. Something such as the withdrawal of troops. We did not listen to such a proposal, we are not listening to such a proposal. Because this had come up in the Annan Plan. While we had accepted it in the Annan Plan, the Greek Cypriot side then had not accepted it”.

Martin Schulz said that the Republic of Cyprus had joined the European Union, thus representing the entire island. Erdogan replied that South Cyprus does not represent the entire island. He added that according to the acquis communautaire, no country with internal problems could join the Union. Erdogan continued that:

“Besides, in a Cyprus which is divided by the UN green line, the South has no right to represent North Cyprus. This is contrary to the acquis as well. If there was such an authority, then why are these negotiations conducted? Ignoring the Turks in Northern Cyprus and presenting South Cyprus as the owner of the entire place, does not comply with the understanding of justice from the point of view of international universal values.

At the moment there is, unfortunately, a wish for the TRNC to be condemned to non-existence by force. Then, I can easily say this. Why we have held those meetings at Burgenstock in Switzerland? During those meetings we reached a final point. At that time, South Cyprus was not a member of the EU. After the meetings a referendum was held. The TRNC kept its promise at the referendum. It said ‘yes’ by 65%, while south Cyprus said ‘no’ by 75%. Those who said ‘no’ were rewarded, while those who said ‘yes’ were not accepted into the EU. As a matter of fact there is an unjust practice there. The acceptance of South Cyprus into the EU is political. It is not in harmony with the acquis of the EU. If my esteemed friend Schultz reads the book written by the former German Chancellor Schroder, there is a six-page chapter there. In this chapter he explains how unjust was the decision taken on Cyprus”.

Following PM Erdogan’s statements, Schulz said that they needed to avoid a public quarrel and added “we have to find a reasonable solution” to the Cyprus problem. He noted that he understands Erdogan’s position on this issue, but added: “The entire island has entered into the EU. Please accept this situation”.

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