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17 June, 2024
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Ankara's firm stand on Cyprus problem stalls progress, UN envoy reports

UN mediation efforts derailed by Greek-Turkish diplomatic spat


By Vassilis Nedos

Significant challenges arise in the attempt to reignite efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue within the established and globally recognized parameters (such as UN resolutions). These obstacles are glaringly apparent through various events, with the latest being the notably aggressive response from Turkey's permanent representative to the United Nations, Sentat Onal, to the verbal criticism from his Greek counterpart, Evangelos Sekeris, during a discussion on the situation in Ukraine.

Onal drew parallels between Russian aggression and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Onal's letter isn't coincidental in light of the renewed focus on the Cyprus issue and underscores Ankara's unyielding stance, hindering progress.

The letter from Turkey's permanent representative to the United Nations, Sentat Onal, is particularly confrontational.

In his letter (S/2024/29), Onal expressed disappointment, asserting that his Greek counterpart "seeks to evade his country's undeniable responsibility in the creation and escalation of the Cyprus issue, distorting history and fundamental facts." Onal then reaffirmed his country's steadfast position regarding its intervention in 1974, as outlined in the 1960 treaty.

Onal referenced the "dramatic statement made in the Security Council on July 19, 1974, by Archbishop Makarios, the Greek Cypriot leader at the time, openly accusing Greece, not Turkey, of the invasion and occupation of Cyprus, following the infamous coup by the Greek army aimed at the island's union with Greece on July 15, 1974."

Providing a comprehensive retrospective of historical events, Onal concludes that developments from 1974 to the present advocate for a two-state solution. He argues that "since 1963, there has been no unified authority legally or substantively competent to represent both peoples jointly and, consequently, Cyprus as a whole.

Instead, there are two independent, self-governing states, each exercising sovereignty and jurisdiction within its respective territory. The Turkish Cypriot side is prepared to negotiate a cooperative relationship between the two states on the island, provided that the inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriot people acquired in 1960, namely, sovereign equality and equal international status, are reaffirmed." Onal ends by stating that "Turkey strongly supports this results-oriented and realistic vision."

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  security  |  UN  |  politics

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