- - Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rep. Gus Bilirakis‘ op-ed (“What the Turkish settlement of Varosha would make clear,” Web, Oct. 22) distorts facts. Mr. Bilirakis needs to learn more about the substance of the Cyprus issue.

The matter dates back to the partnership established in 1960 between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. It was based on the political equality of the two peoples and their joint exercise of sovereignty. The Cyprus issue is a result of the Greek Cypriots hijacking this partnership in 1963. Targeting unification with Greece, they tried to slaughter the Turkish community and systematically excluded them from state institutions.

Nevertheless, to this day both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have contributed to the efforts toward a comprehensive settlement. The Greek Cypriots’ uncompromising attitude, however, has not changed. Negotiations have failed because of their perpetual rejection of sharing power and prosperity.

To overcome this impasse, a plan was developed in 2004 — the Annan Plan — to establish a partnership of two equal, constituent states on the island. Yet again, it was rejected overwhelmingly by the Greek Cypriots (75.8%), whereas a vast majority of Turkish Cypriots (64.9%) voted in favor. The 2017 Conference on Cyprus ended without a settlement for the same reason.

Mr. Bilirakis‘ reference to the fenced area of Mara (Varosha) is also misleading. The area is controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Citing Turkey on this matter only underscores that Mr. Bilirakis is biased.

Turkey, as a guarantor state, has always been open and constructive. We do not dictat, nor do we exclude any settlement model. What is imperative is that the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots be secured and their security needs met.


Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey


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