January 2011

Turkish Cypriots criticize Erdogan

“Cyprus... is not your father’s property”

The Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (16 January 2011), in a front page article under the headline “Cyprus... is not your father’s property”, reported that Sener Elcil, the head of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTOS), reminded the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan that Cyprus is the property of all the Cypriots who live on the island. Referring to Erdogan’s recent statement:

“We will not give you even a tiny bit from Northern Cyprus. You should know that.”

Elcil wondered who Erdogan thought he was to bargain with the Cypriots’ homeland, and added that Cyprus was not the property of Erdogan’s father.

In a written statement, Elcil said that Erdogan’s declarations reveal the realities in Cyprus, and Turkey’s true intentions regarding the island.

On the following day, Cenk Mutluyakali, the chief editor of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen, also commented on Erdogan’s statement saying, inter alia:

Has Turkey come to the northern part of Cyprus with the aim of conquest? Or has it annexed the northern half of the island to itself? The statements [by Erdogan] are made in such a manner. When the Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan says ‘We will not give even a tiny bit in Cyprus’, I wonder what kind of a ‘proprietorship’ right he sees for himself and his country? Whose property is he giving to whom? One’s wish for a ‘solution’ or for ‘peace’ is understood always from the policy one implements, and the language one uses...

İzzet İzcan, the founder of the left-wing socialist United Cyprus Party (Birleşik Kıbrıs Partisi), which is in favour of a free, demilitarised, and united Cyprus, has asked the European Union to intervene to stop the transfer of settlers to Cyprus from Turkey and to conduct a census of the population.

Pavlos Andronikos

The full statement by Sener Elcil, Secretary General of the Union of Turkish Cypriot Teachers (KTOS)

(From the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis, 16 January 2011.)

We are following with particular interest the evaluation by the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan of the visit to our island by the German Chancellor Mrs. Merkel.

Mr. Erdogan’s statements reveal the real goals of Turkey in Cyprus. Mr. Erdogan behaves as if it is not the Government of the Justice and Development Party [Erdogan's party] and the Turkish state which are annihilating the Turkish Cypriot community, an equal partner in the Republic of Cyprus; as if it is not Turkey which is transferring population and [thereby] neutralizing our political will, imposing so called economic packages and forcing us to emigrate; as if it is not they who have built mosques in every corner, assimilating the Turkish Cypriots.

Striving to appear to be the side which wants a solution, and asking Mrs. Merkel to apologize because she has referred to these realities, constitutes a political distortion. We remind Mr. Erdogan that Turkey is a guarantor of the Republic of Cyprus together with Greece and Britain. Turkey is in Cyprus supposedly to protect the territorial integrity and the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus. Mr. Erdogan should know that the transfer of population, the creation of divisive structures, the distribution of Greek Cypriot properties to Turkish nationals, and everything else that Turkey has done in Cyprus contravene International Law and are not within the scope of its duties as a guarantor.

Your outburst [Mr. Erdogan] against Mrs. Merkel who reminded you of all these things, as well as your accusation that she lacks knowledge on the Cyprus Problem, cannot cover up these realities. How easily you have forgotten that it is you who ‘slept’ on the 65% of the Yes vote by the Turkish Cypriots at the referendum [on the Annan Plan], without taking a single step towards a solution, [and now] you have revealed your real goals by stating that “we did not give away a single stone”.

Once more you have revealed your true goal by saying that you will not give away a single gram of north Cyprus, forgetting, however, that the real owner of this land is all the Cypriots. By what right are you bargaining with our land? Cyprus is not your father’s property.

It should be made clear that if anybody has to apologize for his actions which are pushing the Turkish Cypriots into emigration and assimilation, it is you.