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‘Observer status’ at Turkic States for north is ‘meaningless’, foreign ministry says (Updated)

The Organisation of Turkic States has accepted the ‘TRNC’ as a member state with an observer status, as it kicked off its summit in Uzbekistan on Friday.

The move sparked a range of reactions across Cyprus, condemned from government-controlled areas and praised in the north.

The Cyprus foreign ministry said the move was “meaningless” and merely playing with words.

The organisation consists of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Observer status is defined as “a privilege granted by some organisations to non-members to give them an ability to participate in the organisation’s activities”.

There are two non-member observer states at the UN: the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

Addressing the attendees in Samarkand, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said “we contributed to a solution, illustrating that our Cypriot brothers and sisters – who are a core part of the Turkish world – are not alone.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu praised the move on Twitter saying “step by step, we’ll get there.” In the north, ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu called it a “historic development.”

“This confirms that the new vision for the ‘TRNC’ for Cyprus based on two states, is correct realistic and in agreement with the regional and international context.”

The ‘TRNC’ declared itself a state in 1983 under the Unilateral Declaration of Independence. It is only recognised internationally by Turkey.

On the home front, Disy leader Averof Neophytou condemned the development saying it was yet another ploy from Turkey. “This is an unfavorable development which proves that Turkey continues to behave outside of international law, to the detriment of the Republic of Cyprus and the efforts to solve our national problem, foreshadowing that even more difficult days are coming in Cyprus as well.”

He called on all parties in Cyprus to work together to combat Turkey’s actions. Akel said though this did not itself constitute as recognition of the pseudo-state, it was a warning sign.

“The only thing achieved with such provocative actions which go against international law, is to encourage Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership that the goal of having two states on the island is feasible.”

But the Cyprus foreign ministry said the move was “meaningless”. In a statement later on Friday it said the other member states of the organisation had refused to accept an unrecognised state as an observer whereupon Turkey then proposed changing the statute to include ‘entities’.

“The fact that Turkey itself promoted and chose to accept the downgrading of the participation of the pseudo-state to the status of ‘entity’ and not ‘state’, proves the obvious,” the ministry said.

“Therefore, any attempt by Turkey to present this event as a victory is nothing more than a meaningless development. Through its actions, it managed to secure observer status for the pseudo-state under the category of ‘entities’, and this, of course, subject to the ratification of the new statute by the member states of the organisation,” it added.

The ministry said it had also noted “with interest” the relevant public statements by the president of Kazakhstan and the minister of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan, both of whom expressed their countries’ support for international law and the need to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states.

“It is obvious that Turkey’s deadlocked policy of granting sovereign equality to the pseudo-state and its insistence on equal international status was and remains ineffective,” the ministry said.

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