“This attitude of the UK, one of the guarantor countries (for the island), regarding Cyprus is unacceptable,” said Tahsin Ertugruloglu, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) foreign minister, calling on Britain to stop its policies biased in favor of Greek Cypriots and against the Turkish Cypriots.
“Only Turkey, among the guarantor countries, fulfills the duties and responsibilities of the guarantor, while the others are busy supporting and promoting the racist and bigoted Greek policies.”
Ertugruloglu’s remarks came in response to comments by Stephen Lillie, the UK high commissioner to Greek Cyprus, in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.
Lillie had claimed that a federation is a way to reach an agreement on the long-divided island, even though such proposals have kept the Cyprus issue insoluble for decades, said Ertugruloglu.
Lillie’s style shows that the typical “colonialist mentality” still continues, Ertugruloglu added.
Stressing the new vision of the Turkish Cypriot side announced at an informal UN-sponsored meeting in Geneva this April, Ertugruloglu said that this proposal is based on the principle of sovereign equality and equal international status.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek 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 led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
A UN-led unofficial Cyprus conference was held in Geneva this April to seek common ground to negotiate a lasting solution to the decades-old conflict.
Turkey, Greece, and the UK also took part in the meeting.