After almost two decades of the Annan Plan referendum on the Cyprus problem, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said that the Greek Cypriot side was rewarded for rejecting the plan, while the Turkish Cypriots have been punished.

Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot Annan Plan rejectionist parties – Diko and Edek – hailed the decision in 2004 to reject the solution of the bizonal bicommunal federation.

Commenting on the anniversary of the Annan Plan, Tatar called on the EU, the US, and the UN to keep their promise to the Turkish Cypriot community, which he said had been punished after the plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side, which he claimed had been rewarded with EU membership.

“While these promises have not been fulfilled 19 years on, we will continue to bring the referendum promises to the agenda on every anniversary and show their true face. My appeal to the United Nations, the EU and the USA is to stop supporting the Greece-Greek Cypriot duo, which is playing for a non-solution in Cyprus and blowing up all negotiation processes, and to fulfil the promises they made to the Turkish Cypriot people during the referendum process of April 24, 2004 […],” he said.

He added that when the Annan Plan was drafted by the United Nations and was put to a referendum, a promise was made that the side that said ‘no’ would be punished and the side that said ‘yes’ would be rewarded.

However, Tatar said that the opposite had occurred.

“The Greek Cypriot side that said ‘no’ was rewarded with unilateral EU membership and the Turkish Cypriot side that said ‘yes’ was punished. While not one of the promises made has been fulfilled, the unjust and inhumane embargo, which has the character of oppression imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people, continues,” he said.

Commenting further, he said despite the Annan Plan failure, the Turkish Cypriot side has come forward with two state solution, which “we believe will benefit Cyprus and the area.”

He added that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan also supports this plan, and called on the international community at the recent UN General Assembly to recognise the ‘TRNC’.

Tatar also asserted: “While the Annan Plan will remain in the past and on the dusty shelves of history, we will not step back from the new and national policy decided together with our motherland Turkey and supported by the vast majority of our people, and we will continue to walk this path with determination and resolve.”

Greek Cypriot parties Diko and Edek, who supported President Nikos Christodoulides during recent presidential elections, have hailed the rejection of the Annan Plan as a victory, in their comments on Monday.

“Today marks 19 years since the day Cypriot hellenism defended the republic of Cyprus, justice, dignity, and their history,” Diko said in an announcement.

They added that these 19 years are have passed since the “catastrophic” Annan Plan.

“The decision of the Greek Cypriots then was a lifesaver for the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey then lost the opportunity to implement its unacceptable machinations, which would have provided it with any approval of the Annan Plan. It [Turkey] has not abandoned its plans for the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus and partition. Today, it insists on openly putting on the table a solution of two states or a confederation of two states,” the announcement said.

Diko said that they reiterate the need to have a solution that means the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus, and to enact a strategy that forces Turkey to abandon its unacceptable stance, so that a path for a solution with a correct federation can open.

Meanwhile, Edek, who also reject the Annan Plan, said that if the plan had passed at the referendum, the Republic of Cyprus would have been left to Turkey’s devices.

A Diko MP, Chrysis Pantelides, also said that the rejection of the Annan Plan opened the way for Cyprus to enter the EU, something quickly refuted by former finance minister and Disy member Constantinos Petrides.

Petrides said: “The accession of Cyprus to the EU (accession agreement in 2003) was done with President Clerides’ negotiations, due to the expectation of the EU a solution would be based on the Annan Plan. It certainly wasn’t because of NO [vote]! Show some mercy!”

Green party MP Alexandra Attalides also rejected the celebratory messages of Diko and Edek, questioning what had actually been achieved since the referendum.

On social media, she said: “Not a single refugee returned home. Not a single Turkish soldier left. Talks for a solution to the Cyprus issue are not taking place. Varosha has opened, our occupied territories are being built on and sold off… Question: What are they celebrating?”