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Erdogan’s statements to UN assembly call for change of tactics, says Edek

78th unga general debate at un hq in new york
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 19, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Socialist party Edek on Wednesday responded with a strong statement to comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his address to the UN General Assembly overnight in New York.

In his speech, Erdogan asserted that a federation-based solution was no longer viable and cast doubts over the neutrality and efficacy of the UN, saying it was a force whose reputation had been damaged.

He further called for recognition of the breakaway TRNC and claimed that for 60 years the Turkish Cypriot side had made efforts to find a fair and sustainable solution.

Edek in its press release, said that Erdogan’s speech dispelled any illusions that Turkey could show good will in the Cyprus issue.

The Turkish president’s statements “impose on our side an alteration of [the] tactics of determinedly confronting Turkish intransigence,” the party said.

Edek continued that since a two-state solution and acceptance of the sovereign equality of the pseudo-state, that is, the “two-state confederation solution”, are rejected [by the Greek Cypriots] out of hand, the Republic must seek to secure “resolution of the international aspect of the problem.”

In his speech, Erdogan said that “the transformation of the Eastern Mediterranean into an area where peace, prosperity and stability will prevail is possible only with respect for rights and laws by all parties”.

He went on to claim that in the past 60 years, “the Turkish Cypriot side has always made sincere efforts to find a fair, permanent and sustainable solution,” asserting that a federation-based solution is no longer viable.

“We call on the international community to accept this and to recognise the independence of the ‘TRNC’ and to establish diplomatic, political and economic ties with this country,” he said.

As for the UN, the Turkish president said the recent incidents in Pyla were a manifestation of the void institutional structure [of the UN] that did not inspire justice and trust.

Erdogan also said Turkey expects Unficyp “to comply with the neutrality it is obliged to demonstrate.

“We do not want this Force, whose reputation has already been damaged, to face a new loss of reputation in Cyprus,” he said.

In response, Edek highlighted the international nature of the Cyprus problem, saying “the essence of the Cypriot issue, [is] invasion, continued occupation and settlement,” and called for a sidelining of Turkey by the EU and from the developing Eastern Mediterranean energy community:

“Turkey is not going to get economic or political benefits from the European Union, not even with the special relationship it may have with the EU. The formation of the Eastern Mediterranean energy map will continue in cooperation with friendly countries, from which Turkey should be excluded,” Edek said.

“Unfortunately, it has been confirmed once more that Turkey only understands [being confronted with] costs and has no intention of meaningful discussion aimed at finding a sustainable and democratic solution for Cyprus,” the statement concluded.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the opening segment of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday was perhaps the first time since the Turkish invasion that a Cypriot president was present while a Turkish president delivered a speech.

Nicosia’s first reactions to Erdogan’s speech came from diplomatic sources, who said that the Cypriot government “did not expect anything different” and looked towards the upcoming meeting between the Turkish president and his Greek counterpart.

Christodoulides is expected to extend a personal message to Erdogan while addressing the General Assembly on Wednesday continuing to aim for a positive agenda.

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