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UN force on Cyprus needs consent of Northern Cyprus to do its work ‘on legal basis’: Türkiye

It is "essential" for the UN Peacekeeping Force on Cyprus (UNFICYP) to continue its activities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) "on a legal basis," but the latest extension of the force’s mandate again ignores that, Türkiye stressed on Monday.

"The consent of the TRNC was once again not sought during UNFICYP’s mandate extension. It has been repeatedly put on record that this is contrary to established UN practice and that UNFICYP has been able to continue its activities due to the goodwill of the TRNC authorities,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

"It is essential that UNFICYP continues its activities on TRNC territory on a legal basis. It should be known that we will fully support the steps to be taken by the TRNC authorities to this end.”

The statement came after the UN Security Council on Monday passed a resolution extending the mandate of the UNFICYP for a period of another year.

"Despite the fact that they are not included in the reports of the United Nations Secretary-General, we observe that the Council, detached from the realities on the ground and disregarding the will of the TRNC towards a two-state settlement, insists on settlement models that have been tried and have failed many times," the ministry said.

It added that this situation is "incompatible" with common sense and goodwill, and shows that, instead of promoting a real settlement on the island, "the Council is unable to free itself from Greek Cypriot influence."

"Once again, the UN Security Council has ignored the inhumane and illegal embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people. It is yet another contradiction that the resolution calls for cooperation between the two sides, disregarding the realistic, constructive and sincere cooperation proposals conveyed by TRNC President Ersin Tatar to the UN Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) in his letters dated July 1 and 8, 2022, which could meet many needs of the Island," it said.

Türkiye also rejects the points in the new resolution regarding the fenced-off town of Maras and reiterates that it fully supports all activities that have been and will be carried out by TRNC authorities in respect of the rights of legal property owners and the benefit of the two peoples on the island.

"We invite the Council to stop supporting the insincere attitude of the Greek Cypriot Administration, which aims to prevent Greek Cypriots who wish to return to their properties from doing so. We take this opportunity to emphasize once again that Maras is TRNC territory," it added.

Maras, or Varosha in Greek, had virtually become a ghost town as it remained cut off from the world for 47 years. A portion of the region – some 3.5% of its total area – was reopened in October 2020. Maras was abandoned after a 1984 UN Security Council resolution that said only its original inhabitants could resettle in the town.

The ministry also said common ground towards a just and lasting settlement on Cyprus must be based on the realities on the ground.

"In this regard, we call on the Security Council and the international community, based on the fact that there are two separate peoples and two separate states on the island of Cyprus, to reaffirm the inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriots, namely their sovereign equality and equal international status, and to recognize the TRNC," it added.

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkiye, Greece, and the UK.

The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

Source: Anadolu Agency