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No: 312, 11 October 2017, Press Release Regarding the UN Secretary-General’s report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus dated 28 September 2017

The final version of the report of the UN Secretary-General on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, covering the period from May 2015 to August 2017 and dated 28 September 2017, was distributed on 10 October 2017.

We observe that the report, in its present form, does not candidly reflect the facts concerning the comprehensive negotiation process which came to an end last July with the closing of the Conference on Cyprus. As such, it falls short of our expectations. Nevertheless, some of the observations made in the report by the Secretary-General, who witnessed all relevant developments, ought to be taken into account by the international community.

In this framework, we take note that the Secretary-General, while referring to the final phase of the process, emphasizes his conviction that “political will, courage and determination, mutual trust and a readiness on the part of all parties to take calculated risks” were necessary to conclude the negotiations.

It is evident that the Secretary-General is not referring to Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side with these remarks. This is clear because during the entire process leading up to the Conference on Cyprus, as well as during all phases of the Conference including its Crans-Montana session, the Greek Cypriot side never discarded its unrealistic approach to the Security and Guarantees chapter, which can be summarized as “zero troops, zero guarantees”. The Greek Cypriots displayed no constructiveness whatsoever even on fundamental issues regarding the functioning of the partnership state whose establishment was being attempted on the Island. That is why it is also difficult to understand the remarks in the report to the effect that the parties were “very close to reaching an agreement”.

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have displayed political will and expended courageous and determined efforts towards a negotiated, just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue based on the inherent constitutive will and the political equality of both sides in the Island of Cyprus, as well as their co-ownership of Island. We believe that the parties to the process, along with those who closely observed it, have been witness to this fact.

The Greek Cypriot side, on the other hand, did not display the necessary political will during the negotiations and persisted in this attitude during the Conference on Cyprus as well. Most recently, all parties witnessed the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigent attitude at Crans-Montana. During the course of the Conference on Cyprus, the final phase of the process, the Greek Cypriot side went so far as to reopen for discussion convergences already agreed upon in principle during the process. Previously, as the negotiation process was continuing, they were the side which eroded the feeling of confidence at the negotiating table by adopting, with domestic political considerations in mind, a parliamentary decision on such a matter as “enosis”, which forms the very basis of the Cyprus issue. It is again the Greek Cypriot side that has been dragging its feet in the implementation of steps agreed upon by the two leaders within the framework of confidence building measures on the Island. In fact, the Greek Cypriot side repeatedly derailed the process in the period prior to the Conference on Cyprus as well. As if that were not enough, they also leaked confidential documents to the press, in a manner neither in keeping with negotiation ethics nor with good faith, during the Crans-Montana session of the Conference on Cyprus in an environment in which sensitive negotiations were being held.

At this stage, it is unacceptable for the Turkish Cypriot side to continue to be punished as was the case in 2004, despite their having always displayed goodwill, determination and constructiveness in the half-century-long efforts aiming towards a settlement, including in this last process. It is not possible to forget how the promises made to the Turkish Cypriots in the aftermath of previous processes have not been kept. The Turkish Cypriots have made every effort in order to be able to live together in peace and partnership with the Greek Cypriots in Cyprus. It is now high time to put an end to the inhuman isolation imposed upon the Turkish Cypriot people and to lift the unjust restrictions on their contacts with the international community. The side working towards a settlement cannot be punished while the side preventing a settlement is rewarded.

Along with the Turkish Cypriot side, we are continuing our reflection on the steps that can be taken in the period ahead, in line with the call made on all parties by the Secretary-General in July and reiterated in his report. Whether or not the unacceptable isolation being imposed on the Turkish Cypriots continues in the period ahead will without doubt have a decisive impact on our reflection process.

Turkey sincerely supports a sustainable settlement of the Cyprus issue both with regard to strengthening stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and in light of the multitude of benefits a settlement could provide to the parties concerned. We will continue our efforts with determination and goodwill as we go on providing constructive contributions towards such a settlement. We invite the relevant parties to discharge their responsibilities in this regard by adopting a realistic and constructive attitude. On the other hand, whichever form the settlement process may assume in the period ahead, we welcome the readiness of the UN Secretary-General, whose contributions we favorably acknowledge, to continue providing his services.