The Turkish Cypriot foreign minister yesterday criticized the EU's decision to admit Greek Cyprus unilaterally into the union in 2004.
"It became clearer over the years that EU's admission of Cyprus as a divided island into the union 15 years ago, without reaching a permanent solution on the island, was a wrong decision," said Kudret Özersay, who is also deputy prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), in a statement. "Turkish Cypriots have borne the brunt of this wrong decision," he added.
He went on to say this shortsightedness made the solution of the Cyprus issue even more difficult. Özersay said the Greek Cypriots used their EU membership to delay all matters related to Turkish Cypriots. "EU member countries should immediately take steps to put an end to this injustice suffered by the Turkish Cypriot people," he added. Özersay also urged EU countries to take steps to fulfill the promises they made to the Turkish Cypriots 15 years ago.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus' annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded. The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece and the U.K., ended in 2017 in Switzerland. In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots. Talks have focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots' rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.