Joint Statement By The Co-Chairman Of The Turkey-TRNC Association Council State Minister Şükrü Sina Gürel And TRNC Minister Of Foreign Affairs Taner Etkin - November 14, 1998

Meeting on 14 November 1998, the Co-Chairmen of the Association Council between the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkish State Minister Prof.Dr.Şükrü Sina Gürel and TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Taner Etkin, have reviewed the decision of the European Union adopted on 10 November 1998 regarding the commencement of substantive negotiations between the Greek Cypriot administration and the EU.

As a result of this review, the parties have reached agreement on the following points to be brought to the attention of the public opinion:

With their respective statements made on 11 November 1998, Turkey and the TRNC have made known their views on, and reactions to, the decision of the EU to commence substantive negotiations with the Greek Cypriot administration on full membership.

The destructive effect of the accession process started by the EU's Luxembourg Summit on the efforts for a solution to the Cyprus question is obvious. The approach adopted by the EU, which ignores the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot people, and its commencement of accession negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side acting on behalf of "Cyprus", have destroyed all parameters which have emerged from the UN negotiating process on the Cyprus question, primary among which is the political equality of the two sides.

With the encouragement it receives from the EU, the Greek Cypriot side is rejecting the political and legal status of the Turkish Cypriot people, including its sovereign rights, and, with its unilateral actions, is pursuing a policy aimed at increasing the military threat both in the island and in the region.

The EU member states must realize that, contrary to what is claimed by the
Greek-Greek Cypriot duo, the membership process of the Greek Cypriot
administration to the EU will not facilitate the process of finding a solution to the Cyprus question. On the contrary, continuation of the accession process without finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and establishing a balance between Turkey and Greece over Cyprus, in connection with the EU issue, will only perpetuate the division and lack of a solution in the island.

Developments indicating that these facts are being appreciated by some EU member states and, in this context, the joint communique issued by 4 countries at the General Affairs Council, have been duly noted.

The commencement, by the EU, of substantive negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side aimed at full membership, will mean both the Greek Cypriot administration's acceleration of its integration with Greece, through the EU, and the upsetting of the Turkish-Greek balance over Cyprus established by the 1959-60 Agreements.

With their Joint Declarations dated, respectively, 20 July 1997 and 23 April 1998, Turkey and the TRNC have already determined the course of action they will follow in the face of the progress the Greek Cypriot administration will achieve in its EU membership process. Within this framework, they have decided to put into effect measures of integration between them similar to those which will be put into effect between the Greek Cypriot side and Greece through the EU.

The Association Council and its two Sub-Committees, which have been established for this purpose, have, since their inception about a year ago, taken important decisions, Agreements forming the basis of the economic integration between the two countries have been concluded and legislation has been drafted.

This mutually accepted joint policy will be continued.

The two Co-Chairmen of the Association Council have agreed to hold the third meeting of the Council in Ankara in December.

In addition, the parties have agreed on the speedy implementation of the following decisions:

  1. To enable the TRNC citizens to enjoy the same economic and social rights as Turkish citizens.
  2. The completion of the process for the harmonization of the customs legislation between Turkey and the TRNC, and the adoption of the practice of single custom between the two countries.
  3. The completion, in the shortest possible time, of the arrangements for the establishment of a Common Economic Area between Turkey and the TRNC, which will be based on the free flow of goods, services, capital and investment, and transfer of technology, in conditions of free trade; the removal of bureaucratic barriers; and the conclusion of the harmonization of legislation.
  4. The establishment, in the context of the Search and Rescue Agreement between the two countries, of a search and rescue center in the TRNC.
  5. In the face of the increased tension and military threat, the initiation of a joint work for the further development of the defence relationship between the Republic of Turkey and the TRNC.

Lefkoşa, 14 November 1998