Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül, 30 May 2005

Turkey supports efforts to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus question within the framework of UN Secretary General’s good-offices mission. We have already done our share in this regard, and will continue to do so. With this understanding in mind, we will hold consultations with the UN in the coming days.

On the other hand, following the positive vote of the Turkish Cypriots in the referenda that took place on 24 April 2004, the EU Council undertook to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. In this context, the EU Commission has drafted two regulations regarding direct trade and financial aid, which are yet to be approved.

We would like to call upon all relevant parties to lift all kind of restrictions imposed on both sides in Cyprus at the same time.

In fact, the Turkish side has already taken positive steps towards this end. The unilateral decision of the TRNC to open the border for crossings in the Island on 23 April 2003, and the decision of the Turkish Government to facilitate the travel of Greek Cypriot citizens to Turkey, are only two examples in this regard.

Within the framework of this understanding, we suggest the implementation the following arrangements as a whole: 

a) Free movement of people, goods and services to and from the Turkish Cypriot side, as well as between the North and the South;

b) Lifting of all restrictions applied to sea and airports, including direct flight;

c) Elimination of restrictions regarding third-country citizens;

d) Special arrangements for the direct inclusion of North Cyprus as an economic entity into the EU Customs Union and enjoyment of its full benefits by all Turkish Cypriots; 

e) Removal of all obstacles that prevent the Turkish Cypriot side to participate in international activities of sports, culture and etc. 

Our suggestion conforms with the repeated calls and expectations of the international community; particularly of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OIC, made after the referenda, with a view to integrating the Turkish Cypriots with the world.
 
In this context, we also believe that lifting of all existing restrictions, especially in the economic and humanitarian areas, for both sides and by all the relevant parties, will represent a significant step towards reaching a comprehensive settlement and political compromise.