TRNC seeks help to end isolation

TRNC President Derviş Eroğlu.

Muscat: Despite all difficulties created by our isolation, we are determined to work hard and create better conditions for the future of Turkish Cypriots, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Dr. Derviş Eroğlu told Times of Oman, in an exclusive interview.

"With the help of Motherland Turkey (as one of the Guarantor country), we have accomplished significant progress in important fields such as tourism, higher education and services sector and hope to continue forward for an amicable solution," he said, ahead of the 29th Anniversary of the TRNC on November 15.

The TRNC, currently recognised by Turkey, is a full-fledged state where the rule of law prevails and the universal principles such as democracy, human rights, freedom of speech are all enshrined in the Constitution. In a candid interview, President Eroğlu explained in detail the current status of the issue. Excerpts:

Can you explain the current status of TRNC?
The TRNC is an independent sovereign Republic which was proclaimed on November 15, 1983 and was promptly recognised by the Republic of Turkey. Although some other Islamic countries wanted to formally recognise the TRNC, they were prevented from doing so by major powers through their authorities and lobbies.
In spite of this, the TRNC has an Observer Member status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and has 22 embassies and representations in different world capitals. Some countries maintain offices in the TRNC, such as the US, the UK, Australia, Germany and others. Turkey has a full-fledged Embassy in Lefkoşa (North Nicosia).

What role do you expect the GCC countries as well as the OIC to be playing?

The role that the GCC could play in the process is to put into practice the resolutions of the OIC expressing its solidarity and support for the Turkish Cypriot State, as it is referred to in these resolutions, by establishing concrete links with the TRNC in diplomacy, trade, tourism, education and culture.

Does an ordinary Turkish Cypriot feel let down by the European Union?

Yes. After the referendum of April 2004 on the UN Plan for the Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus problem, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side while accepted by the Turkish Cypriot side, the EU had passed a decision on April 26, 2004 to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

This decision has not been duly implemented and the promises that had been made to the Turkish Cypriot people before the referenda have not been kept. These promises include economic, cultural and greater political integration with the international community.

In a recent rally in Brussels, Turkish Cypriot civil society organisations protested the EU's failure to honour its commitments to the Turkish Cypriots, by appearing in ghost costumes to indicate that the EU treats the Turkish Cypriots as "invisible citizens."

How do you expect to bring about an end to isolation?
We expect to end the isolation and ultimately end it by intensifying our efforts to integrate with the international community in all fields. We have the full help and support of the Republic of Turkey in our efforts and we are aspiring to get greater assistance from the Islamic countries in our endeavours.

We are also making representations with the EU member states as well as other countries and international organisations to help lift the isolation.

What steps are being taken to develop the country's trade, tourism and ICT sector?

The government provides incentives for investors in the tourism industry and we are trying to improve our transportation and communication sectors with the full backing of the Republic
of Turkey.

What initiatives is TRNC trade and industry taking to woo the GCC nations?

Our authorities are in contact with the relevant authorities and business circles in the GCC to bring in investment from these countries and to develop trade relations with them. We also export dairy products such as hellim (a kind of local cheese), to some GCC states and we believe there is considerable room for closer ties in all spheres of life with the GCC states.

What new initiatives can be taken to breathe a new life into the stalled talks?

The talks can be revitalised if a time-table is introduced culminating in a multilateral meeting involving the other actors, that is Turkey, Greece and the UK, in addition to the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides.


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Reader Comments

What Mr.Eroglu fails to mention is that Cyprus was invaded by Turkey and 40 of the island is under an illegal occupation. That is why no country other than Turkey recognizes the so called TRNC. Further perhaps Mr. Eroglu can explain why 20,000 Turkish troops are in the island. If Mr. Eroglu does not want the reunification of the island because quite simply its not in the best interest of Turkey of which the TRNC is nothing more than a puppet government controled by Turkey. In fact there has been an outcry by native Turkish Cypriots awho are been displaced , their culture and way of life is been eroded because caused by the mass influx of people from mainland Turkey.

Dont you see that you have taken an interview of a so-called "President" of a protectorate pseudo-state established by Turkey in Cyprus after invading it back in 1974?
The WHOLE of the UN has condemned this act of agression of Turkey against the Republic of Cyprus.
No more comments!

This video will give you a small idea of what is the REAL picture in the so called TRNC.

The TRNC is a full fledged nation, thanks to the author for the article. I have spend every summer in Turkish Cyprus, it is a paradise on earth...

I hope that the countries around the world will accept that the people of Turkish Cyprus will never be under the joke of greeks in the south. They have killed ten thousands of Turks after the world war until 74, just because they are Turks...