The similar destinies of Cyprus and Karabakh in the globalised world | Eurasia Diary -

6 March, Saturday

The similar destinies of Cyprus and Karabakh in the globalised world

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At a time when the world is moving towards globalization, conflicts in many countries are changing in a positive way. For example, on the one hand, the political issues in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has remained unresolved in the Middle East for 60 years, and on the other hand, the problems with the Karabakh region, which has been in Armenian captivity for nearly 30 years, are on the verge of being resolved. However, there are still forces that want to cover up the truth and hinder the just struggles of both countries.

In an interview with the Eurasia Diary, Gokhan Guler, a close friend of the International Eurasia Press Fund and a member of the Board at Cyprus Turkish Press Council, Kyrenia Administration Supervisor at National Unity Party and General Secretary at Akdeniz Strategic Research Centre, made interesting remarks about the similarities between the two conflicts.

First of all we would like to congratulate you on the recent successful presidential elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. What kind of progress awaits the TRNC under the leadership of Ersin Tatar after being elected the President?

- Actually new alternatives will now come to the table in Cyprus during the term of TRNC President Ersin Tatar. This time a two-state solution and recognition will be on the table… Concerning the Closed Maras, the opening of it ensures great benefits for humanity as well as bringing abundance to the Blue Homeland and the TRNC. Also a new era will come along the presidential elections in which our relations with Turkey will be even stronger. TRNC President Ersin Tatar thinks that an agreement that aims to change the status quo in Cyprus and to bring peace to the two peoples in the Island is impossible unless the current mentality of the Greek government and its politicians changes. The President underlines that the Turkish Cypriot people are ready for a two-state, two-region, sovereign equality and a solution agreed upon by both sides. Tatar states that the TRNC President will not accept any solution against the Turkish Cypriot people and will pave the way for them to take their place before 1974. He also emphasizes that the Turkish Cypriot people will never give up the active guarantor of their homeland, Turkey as well as to have their own will and state. So TRNC President Ersin Tatar will be open to meeting with the Greek sides. At the same time, with the expert advisory board that will be formed in the presidency, new proposals for alternative solutions outside the federation will be brought to the table. However, it will not intend to take part in any process of which the purpose, calendar is not clear. It means the president will never make his people to lose another five years. The goal of the Closed Maras’s opening process is to open and liberate Maras for its pre-1974 owners. Our goal is to ensure that the Turkish people of Cyprus and the TRNC benefit from the prosperity and richness that will emerge with the reopening of Maras to the world. It is in the interest of all of us to open Maras in accordance with international law, under the administration of our state and as a part of Gazimaghusa Municipality, by observing the rights of the former owners of the properties there. The reopening of Maras to Cyprus and the world will also be a symbol of the establishment of a lasting peace between the two peoples. I believe that the opening of Maras means that it will be one of the important turning points in the Cyprus issue.

Why is the decision to open the Closed Maras still of great concern in Greek society? Are there any similarities between the current situation in Maras and in particular Cyprus and Karabakh?

- Neither Greek authority nor the Greek Cypriots have ever expressed their intention to be with Turkish Cypriots for the solution of the political and economical issues of Cyprus as well as equally benefiting the richness of the island. At the last time they have mentioned it themselves in the Crans-Montana Cyprus talks to Mustafa Akinji same as their leader Nicos Anastasiades had mentioned – “we aren’t willing to share the wealth of Cyprus with Turkish Cypriots”. So with such mentality the Greek authority have since 1960s wanted to establish a unitary state, especially after 1963 by demolishing the Republic of Cyprus that had been established in 1960. And advancing from the UN resolution on March 4 1964 they attempted to make Cyprus a unitary state. Therefore Maras always became an excuse in their hands at the negotiation tables like the current Karabakh issue. However, it is an undeniable fact that Maras has been owned by foundations even before the British Empire had occupied the island in 1878. And according to the international law, obviously the foundation lands cannot be sold or transferred to anyone. Although hotels and other buildings built by the Greeks during the British period in Maras are still a matter of concern, it is clear that these lands belong to the Turkish Cypriots. This issue is the same as the Karabakh issue - thus, just as the island of Cyprus has historically been part of the Ottoman state, Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. This is just a mistake of history on both sides, and we hope that Karabakh will soon be liberated and return to Azerbaijan. In this regard, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus stands by Azerbaijan with full support. Turkey is currently going through many difficult stages in its foreign policy. Karabakh conflict on the one hand, and its involvement in fights against terror groups in Syria, Libya and demonstrating its power on the seas on the other hand. This clearly shows that Turkey has set big goals.

What do these all mean in Turkey’s foreign policy? Also how would you assess the ongoing Karabakh conflict and Turkey's leading role here?

- It is very well known that Turkey, regardless of language, religion and nationality, always tries to stand by the oppressed peoples. Today, this may be met with jealousy by some forces, but this step remains unchanged in Turkey's foreign policy. The main reason for this is Turkey's determination to stand up after declaring its republic, especially by fighting the latest FETO movement. In other words, Turkey is trying to show that it has a power in the region after the FETO movement. At the same time, the formerly exhausted Turkey is once again gathering strength and standing up and showing that it exists all over the world and is able to take part in every event. I think everyone can see it clearly, and this can be the only answer for this. Today, Azerbaijan continues its struggle for its territorial integrity and the establishment of justice, and Turkey, in turn, owes its support to brotherly Azerbaijan in this struggle by all means. Of course, I will have to note that Turkey always adheres to international law when taking part in all dialogues and conflicts. Unfortunately this sometimes comes insufficient. In this case, Turkey will have to use tougher measures no matter it is against Russia, US or other states. As you may have noticed until the pandemic there was forming a polarisation, especially starting from the West Atlantic. This could also be called an Atlantic Era after the post-cold war. When the Covid-19 spread around the world the West Era receded and it started to replace with multi-polarisation era. This was also observed in the speeches of the western powers, in particular former French President Nikola Sarkozi ‘s last statement in the late 2019, where he had admitted that the west is incapable of taking the control over the world with its 800 000 populations. “We have to take further steps for this,” he had added. This has not been long ago and it’s clearly visible how the world is globalising very fast. Today Turkey is also one of the countries having a special place in this globalised world and it says its word not only on lands but on the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black seas within the international law. The United States is making an unexpected decision after a long silence since the start of the Karabakh war.

What does the United States want to say to Turkey by bringing together the foreign ministers of the two Caucasus countries after a series of fruitless meetings with Russia?

- As mentioned before, after the pandemic the United States lost its major power and influence on the globe. It is going to get used to be an ordinary country while multi-polarisation has set new era in the world. America is not able to patronise beyond the oceans and especially in Caucasus. This step can be related to the upcoming presidential elections for the White House. As you know, there are strong Armenian lobbies in every corner of America and I think this the main influence of those lobbies urging the US to interfere issues in the Caucasus. During the debates for the president’s post none of the sides wants lose votes. Therefore America will obviously try to do everything for the favour of Armenia. However, I presume this may never be able to affect the international law and have any negative changes in the process of Karabakh’s liberation from the Armenian occupation.

By Elnur Enveroglu

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