Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar called the two-state solution to the Cyprus problem “crucial” for Turkish Cypriots.
Speaking to LBC Radio on Thursday during his five-day visit to the UK, Tatar also blamed Greek Cypriots for their refusal of the Annan Plan in 2004,
“Turkish Cypriots need their own sovereignty and their own state,” he told radio host Ian Dale, who presented him as the ‘president’ of northern Cyprus’, adding, however, that the entity is only internationally recognised by Turkey.
Tatar explained that a two-state solution does not mean that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will cease to have contacts, but that on the contrary, will be able to better cooperate.
“A two-state solution is crucial for the existence and well-being of the Turkish Cypriots,” he said.
Asked whether a solution based on a bizonal and bicommunal federation is no longer an option, Tatar added that Turkish Cypriots have suffered enough in the past due to the pursuit of a potential union with Greece.
“That is why the solution to the Cyprus problem must be practical, functional and realistic, such as the one envisioning two separate states.”
Tatar also refused claims arguing that the north is effectively a tool used by Turkey.
“Our cooperation the understanding we have with Turkey is natural,” he said. “They have helped us massively over the years and sacrificed a lot for Turkish Cypriots.
“Thanks to Turkey we now have our independence and our dignity. We are no longer a minority.”
The radio programme later saw the intervention of the Cyprus High Commissioner to the UK Andreas Kakouris, who said that a two-state solution cannot be accepted, as it stands in direct contrast to UN resolutions.
“Cyprus’ division is the result of an invasion and the continued occupation by Turkey,” he said.
Kakouris also praised President Nikos Christodoulides for being willing to return to the negotiating table, adding that the goal is a bizonal, bicommunal federation granting political equality to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
When asked to comment on the accusations by Tatar, who claimed that Greek Cypriots were responsible for the failure of the Annan Plan, Kakouris said that the proposed plan did not solve specific issues of the Cyprus problem, such as the presence of Turkish troops on the island.
“The real problem is Turkey’s attitude. Everything coming from Ankara is outside the framework agreed between the two sides and approved by UN,” he said.
“Turkey does not want a reunification and a two-state solution will never be accepted by the international community.
“I hope that the upcoming elections in Turkey will eventually translate into a resumption if talks, after they were interrupted in Crans Montana in 2017,” Kakouris said.
The High Commissioner concluded that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can coexist peacefully, giving as an example the level of cooperation between the two communities in London.
“Peace is a realistic goal,” he said. “At the time, no one believed the Berlin Wall would fall or that peace would be achieved in Northern Ireland.
“Turkey needs to realise that being the stronger side does not necessarily mean being in the right.”