By Sarah Ktisti

There is no common point of reference between the two sides in Cyprus and a “mountain of differences” exist on the perception of the nature of a federation, Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar said on Friday.

In an interview to mark the end of 2022, Tatar described it as the year his new policy on Cyprus took root and there was no going back.

“The main basis of our policy is that there are two separate sovereign peoples in Cyprus within the framework of the Agreement of the Republic of Cyprus. We developed this policy because it is clearly written there. We won’t be stuck in the past. In the past, efforts have been made to reach an agreement on a federal basis,” he said.

He said the Greek-Cypriot perception of a federation was the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus and the integration of Turkish Cypriots.

“They say: ‘The Republic of Cyprus is a recognised state, a member of the European Union. Therefore, there can be no question of the disappearance of the Republic of Cyprus.’ But the TRNC will disappear, that is, the state of the Turkish Cypriots will disappear…When this state disappears, we will really face a great danger. In order not to face such a situation, we must protect our state to the end,” he added.

He said that in 2022 great efforts were made to explain the “new policy” based on the “sovereign equality and equal international status of the two peoples at the international level”.

“In the European Union, in New York, in the United Kingdom and in various places, we have explained the policy of sovereign equality and equal international status in Cyprus, that is, if there is to be an agreement in Cyprus, it must be in cooperation with two states.”

In his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York, Tatar continued, Turkey’s President said that the “embargo” imposed on the Turkish Cypriot “people” has acquired the character of persecution and called for an end to these persecutions and also called for the recognition of the breakaway state.

“This historic speech strengthened our policy” because, he said, immediately afterwards the president of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, Mustafa Sedop, made a similar call and stated that the Assembly fully supports this policy and later, with the decision taken at the meeting of the Turkey’s National Security Council, it was stated that they fully subscribe to the new policy, “that is, the new concept based on the cooperation of the two states in Cyprus,” Tatar added.

Tatar went on to claim that in Cyprus there have been two separate states for 60 years.” He argued that the state in the “south”, as he characterised the areas controlled by the Republic, is the Greek state and the “state” in the “north” is the Turkish state.

“There is no going back. This has been settled, rooted and supported by the Republic of Turkey. This guarantor country is the largest country in the region. There are very important developments in this region and Turkey’s attitude fully supports the Turks of Cyprus. When we see the scales, on one side is the duo of Greek Cypriots and Greeks and on the other the Turkish Cypriots and the Republic of Turkey. An agreement can be reached with the cooperation of the two states to continue stability and peace,” he said.

Referring to the presidential elections to be held in February in Cyprus, Tatar dismissed the main candidates saying all three had supported President Anastasiades’ policy on the Cyprus issue and have worked with him.

Pointing out that the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean had increased due to its wealth, Tatar argued that Turkish Cypriots also have a say in this wealth, such as the region’s oil and gas, “because they are common and equal founders of the Republic of Cyprus”.