JAPAN (AA) – Replying to questions how he evaluated criticisms that United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Kofi Annan’s plan for Cyprus had not been well-explained to people, Erdogan said that he had announced steps taken by his government in not only meetings of his party but also at the parliament.
Erdogan said, "despite the statements we have made, the opposition dwells upon only one issue and it is consistence of the plan of 9 thousand pages. They don’t have any other source for reaction. They don’t think how these 9 thousand pages were written and evaluated and how these steps are being taken. Majority of deputies have not read the text so far. Although they say they are reading it, 90 percent of them aren’t reading it. The plan has been studied and summarized. Our framework and principles are certain. We are saying within the framework of these principles that a United Cyprus Republic will be formed in the island by two constituent states."
"Although there has been a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is not recognized by any country except Turkey, in the island so far, there will be two constituent states after an agreement is reached. One of these constituent states will be the Greek Cypriot Constituent State and the other will be the Turkish Cypriot Constituent State. These Turkish and Greek Cypriot people will establish United Cyprus Republic, a federal state," Erdogan said.
Erdogan added, "(Greek Cypriot leader Tassos) Papadopoulos says in a crying manner that he won’t give my state to anybody. We should not consider the issue this way. He will share his state with us. Moreover, there are more interesting expressions. There is an expression saying "neither the north can dominate over the south nor the south can dominate over the north." Here, the north of the island will gain independence. We have always said that we don’t think we have gained 100 percent success here."
The government had brought the ideal position for TRNC, Erdogan stated.
Erdogan said, "we have brought the ideal position for TRNC with ‘win-win’ understanding. What has the south of the island gained? The south mainly gained territory. What else has happened? There will be Greek Cypriots who will move from the south to the north of the island. You are making an agreement here. When making such an agreement, you can’t unilaterally tell the other side ‘to get whatever it wants.’ In such a case, you should discuss Lausanne Treaty. Under the Lausanne Treaty, parties gained and gave something. Were those who gave the islands under Lausanne Treaty betraying their country? It is very ugly to bring these issues onto agenda. We, as the government of Turkish Republic, consider Cyprus a national cause. But, when we consider it a national cause, we want our kinsmen in TRNC to become a state."
"We consider the issue a national cause. In which international meeting Turkish language was used as an international language? But, after TRNC accepts the plan, Turkish will start to be used as international language in all meetings. Turkish language should start to be used in institutions and organizations which don’t have any technical problems as of May 1 and we have ensured it to be used in other grounds within five years. Steps will be taken for use of Turkish language in other places in the possible shortest time. We will send around 200 staff to international organizations. They will make simultaneous translation. All these are successes gained by this agreement. I think it is not right to ignore them. We have also stated the negative aspects of the plan," Erdogan said.
Erdogan went on saying, "some say that this number of Greek Cypriots will move to the north of the island. This rate was certain and it was 21 percent. We reduced it to 18 percent. And, they will move to the north in a certain period of time. How many Greek Cypriots will move to the north and how many won’t is another issue."
"Some say that it is a step to send Turks away from the island. There is not such thing. There are certain number of Turkish citizens living in TRNC. Let’s consider the number as around 30 thousand. We have achieved to increase this number to 45 thousand in negotiations. Why don’t we discuss these positive aspects? They say that Turkish soldiers will leave the island. Why don’t you talk about the situation of Greek soldiers. There will be 650 Turkish soldiers in the island by 2018. And, the number of the Greek Cypriots will also be equal to that of Turkish soldiers by this day. The presence of soldiers will be discussed every three years. But, sides should have a mutual compromise on this issue. This means that our soldiers won’t leave the island if one of the sides doesn’t approve it," Erdogan noted.
Erdogan stated that nothing would change if there was another government in Turkey or if the government changed.
Asked if his words could be a message to TRNC President Rauf Denktas, Erdogan said, "I responded to articles and news in the newspapers since I don’t want my people to be deceived. Unfortunately, some propaganda on Cyprus is being made in Turkey. I wonder why propaganda is made in Turkey. It should be made in Cyprus. That is, demonstrations should be made in Cyprus instead of Turkey. Everything should be discussed in Cyprus not in Turkey."
Erdogan said that Turkish government was sensitive about interests of Turkish Republic and TRNC.
Noting that insolubility was not a solution, Erdogan stated that politics was not the art of causing problems but an art of finding solutions.
Stating that those who could not solve the Cyprus issue for 30-40 years, Erdogan said that they should take their steps, considering the issue well.
Replying to a question, Erdogan said, "I should have asked (TRNC President) Denktas if he would come to Turkey. But, I forgot asking him. He should do whatever necessary for Cyprus issue in the island. He should explain everything related with Cyprus issue in the s-island. But, I regret that TRNC President comes to Turkey and holds meetings with marginal groups. And, I told it to him. He came to Turkey to attend a meeting held by Ankara Chamber of Commerce. Majority of those who joined this meeting were those who called Turkish Armed Forces as "occupier forces." I told him that I felt sorry seeing him in the same photograph with that group."
Delegations from TRNC, Greek Cypriot side, Turkey and Greece held Cyprus negotiations in Buergenstock, Switzerland from March 24 to 31 in order to contribute to a settlement in the island.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis also joined the negotiations as of March 29.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan presented his final plan to the parties on March 31.
The final plan will be put to separate simultaneous referenda in Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides in the island on April 24.