The United Kingdom, a guarantor country for the divided island of Cyprus, is promoting the policies of the Greek Cypriot administration, Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, the Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Monday, calling on Britain to stop its policies biased in favor of Greek Cypriots and against the Turkish Cypriots.
"This attitude of the U.K., one of the guarantor countries (for the island), regarding Cyprus is unacceptable," said Ertuğruloğlu.
"Only Turkey, among the guarantor countries, fulfills the duties and responsibilities of the guarantor, while the others are busy supporting and promoting the racist and bigoted Greek policies."
Ertuğruloğlu’s remarks came in response to comments by Stephen Lillie, the U.K. high commissioner to Greek Cyprus, in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.
Lillie had claimed that a federation is the way to reach an agreement on the long-divided island, even though such proposals have kept the Cyprus issue insoluble for decades, said Ertuğruloğlu.
Lillie's style shows that the typical "colonialist mentality" still continues, Ertuğruloğlu added.
Stressing the new vision of the Turkish Cypriot side announced at an informal U.N.-sponsored meeting in Geneva this April, Ertuğruloğlu said that this proposal is based on the principle of sovereign equality and equal international status.
While Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration support a federation on Cyprus, Turkey and the TRNC insist on a two-state solution reflecting the realities on the island.
The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement. Five decades of Cyprus talks have led nowhere.
Diplomats last April had tried to make headway to end the decades-old conflict between rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots that destabilizes the Eastern Mediterranean and is a key source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey. The gathering, dubbed the U.N.+5, was attended by the foreign ministers of Cyprus’ three guarantors – Greece, Turkey and Britain.
However, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that there is "no common ground yet" to resume formal negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power. The TRNC was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the European Union in 2004, although in a referendum that year most Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. settlement plan that envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.
TRNC President Ersin Tatar said recently that the Turkish side may hold talks with the Greek side in New York. Tatar said that they continue to work for the recognition of the TRNC, adding that he will pay a visit to the United States on Sept. 18 along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who will both be in the U.S. to participate in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting.
Speaking to reporters in Izmir, western Turkey, Tatar said the only viable solution for the deadlock on the island is a two-state formula.
“There is no partnership anymore. A federal-based understanding couldn’t be reached, and even if it were found, that would mean the majority ruling over a minority,” he said
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