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16 April 2014, Wednesday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Turkish Cypriots push for int’l recognition as negotiation hopes fade

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PRESIDENT OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS (KKTC), DERVIŞ EROĞLU (PHOTO: AA)
6 May 2012, Sunday /GÖZDE NUR DONAT
The lack of progress in the latest round of UN-sponsored talks on the unification of the divided island of Cyprus has prompted the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) to speed up its efforts to gain recognition by other countries through bilateral ties while increasing its visibility at global and regional organizations.

  The strongest indication yet of this intense lobbying endeavor is the increased traffic between the KKTC and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the largest intergovernmental organization after the UN. The OIC recently welcomed a request by the KKTC to open a permanent OIC representative office at the organization’s headquarters in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu even gave the red carpet treatment to KKTC President Derviş Eroğlu when he visited OIC headquarters in early April for the first time. İhsanoğlu said his organization would give priority to ending the unfair isolation imposed on the KKTC and pledged solidarity with the republic at the political, economic, social and cultural levels. The KKTC has held observer status at the OIC since 1969, but this is the first time it has requested a representative office. The KKTC already has representatives in many OIC member countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Azerbaijan, with more to open.

    Days after Eroğlu’s visit to Jiddah, the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and the Islamic Development Bank organized a high-profile trip to attend the Northern Cyprus Investment Forum on April 12 with over 150 businessmen from Islamic countries to promote investment opportunities there.Eroğlu, the first KKTC president to be hosted by the Saudis and the OIC, expressed to the media after the meeting that “seeing the interest and support of the OIC, the Islamic Development Bank and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was very important and satisfying.”

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, whose portfolio includes the KKTC, spoke to Sunday’s Zaman last week and pointed to recent developments that showcase the increasing international visibility of the KKTC. He added that the Turkish government is highly supportive of OIC efforts to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot side.

Moreover, the KKTC’s close cooperation with Turkey at an economic level has helped Turkish Cypriots escape the economic and diplomatic isolation currently imposed on them. The Turkish government continues to financially assist the northern half of the island. Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek recently announced that the Turkish government has paid financial assistance in the amount of TL 5.2 billion (approximately $2.9 billion) to the KKTC from its treasury budget between the years 2004 and 2011.

The economy of the KKTC has also shown quite an improvement in recent years, unlike that of the Greek Cypriots, who are nearly bankrupt. The northern economy is also benefiting from the appeal of education offered by the KKTC, making the north a much sought-after destination for Turks and students from other countries. Education is the second biggest source of income for the country after the service industry, with 47,000 students at seven internationally accredited universities.

Turkish Cypriot officials say that the Turkish north is booming with 6 percent GDP growth thanks to the robust economy of Turkey, its main trading partner and financial backer. The north recorded its best year in terms of tourism revenues since 1974. Though the north cannot receive international flights directly because of its isolation, it nevertheless manages charter flights via Turkey from other countries.

Thanks to subsidies Turkey and the KKTC offer to travel agencies and tour operators, the cost of vacationing in the north is highly competitive compared to the south. That led to a construction boom in the hotel and hospitality industry in the north, with the government aiming to increase the bed capacity for touristic purposes from some 19,000 beds to 40,000.

Attempts by Greek Cyprus to isolate the KKTC have “not yielded results and Turkish Cyprus’s economic relations are flourishing with its neighbors in terms of tourism and the economy,” Atalay said.

He added that a recent water pipeline project will strengthen the position of Turkish Cypriots. The Life Water project, which will enable the transportation of 75 million cubic meters of water from Turkey to the KKTC annually, will change the dynamics on the island in favor of the Turkish Cypriots. Water will be transported to Geçitköy via an underwater pipeline. Upon completion, it will be the first water supply in the world to be delivered by an offshore pipeline. The $450 million intergovernmental framework agreement for the Life Water project was signed in July 2010 between Turkey and the KKTC.

Turkish Cypriots are frustrated with the EU for failing to lift the economic isolation on them that is supported by the Greek Cypriots. Even though the EU committed itself to ending the isolation of the KKTC after the KKTC voted in favor of a UN plan to reunite the island on April 26, 2004, the EU failed to make this happen. On the other hand, Greek Cyprus was admitted into the EU on May 1, 2004, as the sole representative of the entire island after it overwhelmingly rejected the UN plan and has so far blocked all efforts by EU members to trade directly with the KKTC.

Greek Cyprus will assume the rotating presidency of the EU for six months on July 1, which analysts claim will further block the UN-led negotiation process between the two ethnically divided sides of the island. The UN is tentatively eyeing a settlement of the issue before July 2012.

There has been increasing chatter regarding plan B, or the fallback position for the Turkish Cypriots if the negotiations do not go anywhere. “The isolation of the Turkish Cypriot side has been in place since the 1960s despite there having never been an international decision to impose an embargo on the Turkish side. We have since continued our struggle against the policies of isolation and the embargo. We want to seek a solution to the Cyprus problem with comprehensive negotiations,” Eroğlu told Sunday’s Zaman in an interview last November. “But if that [the negotiations] fails, we will have to seek alternatives. For that, we have to be strong economically,” he told a group of Turkish reporters at his residence last week.

Last month, UN chief Ban Ki-moon scrapped plans for an international conference on the Cyprus issue, saying the two sides had failed to make adequate progress on proposals to bring them together under a federal power-sharing umbrella.

Mehmet Hasgüler, a Turkish Cypriot academic who teaches at Lefke University, told Sunday’s Zaman last week that increased economic cooperation between the KKTC and the rest of the world may act as a sufficient impetus for the Greek Cypriots to reach a compromise.

“Turkey may also implement a plan B to end the isolation. It can start a new initiative with the OIC, ECO [the Economic Cooperation Organization, a regional economic cooperation body] or the BSEC [Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation] to make Turkish Cyprus more visible,” Hasgüler claimed.

Hasgüler added that businessmen from the KKTC may well join Turkish investment projects in the Caucasus, on the African continent, in the Balkans and in Asia. “When [President Abdullah] Gül makes a diplomatic visit with a delegation of Turkish businesspeople, Turkish Cypriots may also join. Such economic initiatives on the part of Turkish Cypriots may exert a kind of psychological pressure on Greek Cyprus to be more solution-oriented during the negotiations,” Hasgüler maintained.

 
 
COMMENTS
@Alexander the New Yorker USA is having problems feeding its people.Your beautiful New York has been over-run by the homeless.Thousands have lost their jobs and homes.Worry about your own problems at home.Turkey has the money and the power these days to buy New York.When God was handing out brains, ...
simplesimon
Vote to make Cyprus the 6th borough of New York City. The only solution to unite and free Cyprus from colonial occupations. New Yorkers love the idea of a club med style outer borough. No off-shore drilling or nuclear material allowed. We will make the Turkish, British and Greek militaries an offer ...
Alexander the New Yorker
@Vulkan It is you that has to deal with it. As the article states, Northern Cyprus (occupied Cyprus)is failng to gain recognition.Yadda Yadda back at you mate.Most Turkish people I know have brains. What happened to you? Without History we are nothing.It is your Turkey that ignores History beacause ...
friend of truth
@Friend of truth :-) Truth and justice yadda yadda, history blah. its time to deal with the here and now, the rest is just water under the bridge and a lot of hot Greek air. You tried to unite with Greece, failed, now deal with it. Long live the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus X
Volkan
None of you guys can convince me that the parties can agree to anything as long as the Turks occupy part of the island. Get the troops out and wow... instantly the whole of the island will be united and part of the EU. Those who had their property stolen will get it back. Everybody knows this. They ...
tehlikeli yabanci
If Turkish brothers (Muslim countries) recognize North Cyprus Turkish administration, then all others will easily recognise. But unfortunately some muslim countries foreign and internal policies are controlled still by ex-colonial countries.
muradali_shaikh
Greeks (and their friends from the island) should learn one important rule when they are dealing with Turks*. Otherwise misfortune and disaster will be their part. The case with Cyprus is an example. (*messing with Turks will hit the perpetrator like a boomerang)
Sandokhan
@Volkan Dream on. Truth and Justice always prevail.People of today are more educated and the world media is getting harder to block out (unless you live in China)I will not go into details, I will say however that you need to isolate yourself from the stories passed down to you from your parents and...
friend of truth
This is long overdue and will definitely gather momentum. The Greeks can bark all night long, it wont stop the inevitable. What wonderful news - congratulations Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus X
Volkan
Levent is simply pasting here paragraphs from the Ergenekon propaganda websites. Dr Kuchuk was Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus from 1960 to 1973, and Rauf Denktash was Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus from 1973 to 1974, and Dr Ihsan Ali was a member of Makarios' cabinet from 1970 t...
Dr Ihsan Ali
Its about time they pursued plan B. Talking to the Greek Cypriots is a waste of time even the UN realizes that they rejected the Annan plan and have no interest in coming to any agreement with the Turkish Cypriots. I hold the EU responsible since they are as unsincere as the Greek Cypriots when it...
Ahmed
Christoph@ Once again you are a Greek propaganda machine. Talking about Ethnic Cleansing and property theft? Here is the true fact World to see: Case One: 21 Turkish Cypriots appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for return of the immovable’s they were forced to abandon on December 2...
RebelJim
If instead of writing stupid comments people should read some books to get the Cyprus facts. In a nutshell – Kissinger wanted to put a US base in Cyprus to supply Israel after the ’67 war. Cyprus refused, so Mr. K turned to Israel’s staunchest ally Turkey and told them to take the Northern part of t...
Uncle Billy
Cyprus needs comments like Dr. Ihsan Ali's ones. Thank you.
Ararat Araratian
An INDEPENDENT TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS (KKTC) is the only guarantee against renewed mass graves of Turkish Cypriot people (Murataga, Sandallar, Atlilar, Taskent, etc.) Likewid, it is the only guarantee against renewed genocide plans by Greek and Greek Cypriot terrorists (Akritas Plan Ip...
Ayse
Britain annexed Cyprus illegally in violation of the so-called "Ottoman-British Accord". A Cyprus that is not part of Turkey is against the interests and security of Turkey and Turkish Cypriot people. IN 1959, Turkey accepted the awful anti-Turkish "Zurich Agreements" for the sake of "compromise" t...
Erkan
@Paul, Never. Gonna. Happen. Are you referring to Greeks chasing Turkish Cypriots out of there villages in the 60s. 
LEVENT
57 Muslim countries are ready to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus!!! greek (puppet) Cyprus lost all it's legitimacy when they started with the ethnic cleansing Turkish Cypriots. So in July two options: 2 state solution with the current borders or the TRNC will go for international r...
DutchTurk
The important nations of the world are never going to recognize Turkey's criminal actions on Cyprus as legitimate. 'trnc' will remain in limbo until Turkey recognizes it's policy on Cyprus as illegal. That's reality.
Yaacov
@Johan, Do the correct thing and correct my comment, if you find it hard to do so then go take a swim! Your comments are based on empty story's that bore us to death. Listen to macarious speech at the UN begging the world to save Cyprus from the terrorist invaders of Greece, it makes your comments s...
LEVENT
@LEVENT: telling partly the truth is making one whole lie.
Johan
@ Some guy get educated, I am not comparing Cyprus to West Bank, but the Turkish gov to the Pals, especially Hamas, with which your honourable PM is "warm friend" with. One knows why!
Geo
For over 40 years the Turkish Cypriot people have been in a state of isolation for no good reason. Yet the international community has been indifferent to their plight and unwilling to do anything that would fundamentally change the status quo established in Cyprus in December 1963. It is high tim...
LEVENT
From The Guardian newspaper: "Rauf Denktash, the old, sectarian despot who had run the north as a corrupt family fiefdom, opened the gates convinced that after decades of parallel nationalist indoctrination there would be a blood bath. He did so only because half his population was on the streets d...
Dr Ihsan Ali
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH WE ARE SICK TOO DEATH WITH GREEK CYPRIOT LIES AND DIRTY POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS TO DEPRIVE INNOCENT TURKISH CYPRIOTS FROM THERE RIGHT TO LIVE AS EQUAL PARTNERS. Unfortunatly a UN Resolution 186 was passed on 4 March 1964 as part of the UN's commitment to end the violence in Cyprus insti...
LEVENT
The undisputed fact is that these two people don't want to live together and don't trust each other. Even if the Turkish army left tomorrow, nothing would change. No walls would be pulled down, no touching scenes of North and South Cypriots embracing each other. The two peoples just don't like each ...
jbenin
1.Comparing South Cyprus to West Bank will make people laugh at you 2.You're displaying your ignorance if you think Cyprus' economy is doing good. Google "cyprus economy 2012" 3. Cyprus chose to be best friends with Israel's far right anti-Arab govt. recently even though it's in a region full of Ara...
some guy
Its indeed a waste of time to put more money in Greece and Turkey. The EU can use that money for something more useful. And dont make one mistake, Turkey doesnt get only those billions for adapting their laws to EU norms but also billions for projects and funds. Just stop that, and lets keep the sta...
Johan
Greek Cyprus nearly bankrupt like their brethren in Greece and Turkish Cyprus on the up? Now, that's a turn up for the books! No problem, EU loves the Greeks. No doubt, Greek Cypriots will also be bailed out if it becomes necessary. More EU taxpayers' money to squander :S :D
AliA
that is the only way out!! SC has no reason to unite
wildTurkey
Gosh! The Turkish gov has got something in common with the Pals! Blackmailing is one common traits of both, and none of both will succeed, try to get hold of decent diplomatic virtues instead of claiming ownershhip and tutorship of teh ME!
Geo
Never. Gonna. Happen.
Paul
It is about time that KKTC was accepted fully by the OIC. The OIC governments are too subservient to Europe and the USA. They have to break free from this 'inferiority complex' and assert self confidence.
Observer
One of the most dumpiest articles I've read for a while. Why? When you write ''Attempts by Greek Cyprus to isolate the KKTC have “not yielded results and Turkish Cyprus’s economic relations are flourishing with its neighbors etc.'' and then ''told Sunday’s Zaman last week that increased economic coo...
Johan
Another 'viewpoint' article cooked up in the basement of Turkey's Foreign Ministry. So, 'kktc' economy is a thriving success while ROC is 'bankrupt'? Last time I looked 'kktc' existed mainly on handouts from Turkey and what little it can attract with low-end tourism. ROC on the other hand has a thri...
Abner Doubleday
Turkey has been pushing for international recognition of it's rump-state in Cyprus for 38 years, so for with no success. Mainly because not many nations recognize Ethnic Cleansing and property theft by an outside power as legitimate means to create a new nation. I see no prospects that any significa...
Christoph
I do not understand why a man and a woman can divorce easilly when they figure out that a common life together is impossible, while entire populations have not the right to do so. If Cyprus Turks can not, and do not want, to live with their Greek fellows why the International Community want to force...
Ararat Araratian
This is the best choice since it is never going to work out with the Greek Cypriots. We have asked them countless times to the negotiation table, they don't want to, they don't have to. Now it is up to us to seal the deal and finish this once and for all since the Greeks are only profiting from the ...
ero
The failure of the Annan plan was clear evidence of the uselessness of such negotiations. Whatever we want to call it, Turkey still occupies the north in much the same way Israel occupies the west bank or the Russians parts of Georgia. Only when Turkey gets out will the two communities have real rea...
tehlikeli yabanci
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