Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar on Wednesday asked U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to be open-minded about the Turkish Cypriots' desire for sovereign equality and two-state cooperation on the island.
In a letter sent in response to one penned by Guterres, Tatar said, “In light of the new conditions prevailing in the island and our region, for a fair, realistic and sustainable reconciliation, the TRNC aims to establish a cooperative relationship between the two parties, based on two sovereign states with equal international status,” according to a statement from the presidency.
Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration tried to block efforts for a solution on the island, he said, and stressed that a resolution on specified grounds will help restore regional security and stability, paving the way for an Eastern Mediterranean that fairly represents all members.
Speaking at a virtual panel of Turkey's Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) on Tuesday, Tatar reiterated the Turkish Cypriots' desire to become an independent sovereign republic in cooperation with Turkey and that the TRNC no longer wants to share its sovereignty.
Reminding that equal rights for Turks and Greeks in Cyprus were recognized with a 1960 agreement, Tatar pointed to the fact that the international treaty was signed by both the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, which shows the international community's acknowledgment of the Turkish Cypriots' right to an equal stake.
The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece. Turkey's military intervention stopped the yearslong persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots. The TRNC was established in 1983 on the northern tier of the island. The Cyprus issue has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K.