Turkish Cypriot Leader Ersin Tatar on Tuesday said he condemns the British High Commissioner in Nicosia Irfan Siddiq.

Tatar was speaking to Kibris Postasi TV about an interview Siddiq had given to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen, which was published on Monday.

Siddiq said “sovereign equality and equal international status … cannot be given” to the north, and added, “recognition of the TRNC? That’s not likely either. You will not be able to get two states accepted.”

In response, Tatar said the north is being “used” by the United Kingdom to “reach national goals and form good relations with the Greek Cypriot administration in South Cyprus.”

They have started to support South Cyprus’ politics. I find it very strange. I condemn Siddiq,” he said.

He added, “such a step beyond one’s remit has never been seen in the history of the TRNC. Siddiq has never interfered in [British] domestic politics to this extent. The necessary information has been handed to Turkey.”

He also said the Greek Cypriot side’s position on the Cyprus problem is “not sincere”, adding “they do not even accept political equality. It is clear what their position will be. Zero soldiers and zero guarantees.”

Later in the day, the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu also launched an attack on Siddiq.

Siddiq, with his words, acts like a Greek Cypriot and an Elam member. Being of Pakistani origin, instead of following a balanced policy, he is trying to please the Greek Cypriot side… He is acting more like a Greek Cypriot than a Greek Cypriot. He should be sacked,” he said.

“He must be sacked as soon as possible and a sane, balanced diplomat is needed in his place,” he said, adding that Siddiq “cannot make a positive contribution” to the Cyprus problem.

He also picked up on a point in the interview in which Siddiq had said “the real issue is closing the gap between the two sides.”

Ertugruloglu asked, “so, who was it who created this gap, Mr Siddiq? Was it not the British? Are there not five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council? Are you not the ones who created this rift between the two sides with Resolution 186?”

UN Security Council Resolution 186, passed in 1964, acted as effective codification that, devoid of their constitutionally mandated Turkish Cypriot representation, the state institutions in Cyprus would continue to be recognised as the legitimate government of the Republic of Cyprus.

This is not the first time Siddiq has ruffled feathers among the Turkish Cypriot leadership. During a meeting with British citizens living in the north in July, he described Turkey’s actions in Cyprus in 1974 as a “land grab”, earning Ertugruloglu’s ire.

Ertugruloglu had said Siddiq “insults and attacks our sovereignty, all our rights and interests, our country, our flag.”

He added, “it is unacceptable for the ambassador of a country, which is the main architect of the emergence of many of the conflicts which are still unresolved and have caused bloodshed, to question the Treaty of Guarantee.”

“It is clear that Siddiq supports the Greek Cypriot side’s position on Cyprus to preserve the status of the British bases in the Greek Cypriot administration,” he said.