Em. Büyükelçi Tugay Uluçevik Em. Büyükelçi Tugay Uluçevik


21 December 2020



[Former Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey]


İstanbul, 10 October 2009


Mr. Chairman,

Esteemed Presidents,

Esteemed Prime Ministers,

Esteemed  Ministers,

Distinguished Ambassadors

Distinguished Members of the Balkan Political Club,

Distinguished Members of the Press,

Distinguished Guests,

At the outset I would like to state that it is indeed an honor for me to address, on the occasion of the 12th Conference of the Balkan Political Club, an audience composed of eminent politicians and statesmen of the Balkan countries and distinguished guests from Turkey.

The main theme of the Conference is “Turkey – EU Relations”. Therefore, in my presentation on the Cyprus issue I shall share with you my views mainly on the position of the European Union (EU) with respect to the Cyprus question. 

However, I would like to begin my presentation by highlighting 4 basic facts pertaining to the Cyprus question since they are usually wittingly or unwittingly distorted or overlooked.

Firstly, I would like to point to the historical fact that neither the Turkish Cypriots nor Turkey have caused the emergence of the Cyprus problem. It has been the outcome of statements, policies, violent acts and adventurous initiatives manifesting  the aspiration to annex the island of Cyprus to a country which today is a member of the EU. This aspiration is expressed by the word ENOSIS which is not Turkish. Attempts aiming at ENOSIS have intensely taken place in the period from 1954 to 1958. In the Christmas of 1963, a planned “ethnic cleansing” was launched against the Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot onslaught has resulted in the collapse of the “partnership” Republic of Cyprus which was established in 1960 in the nature of a “functional federation.” The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG) has described in his regular reports the conditions in which the Turkish Cypriot people was compelled to live in those days in the Island as “veritable siege.”  The proclamation of ENOSIS was attempted in 1974 through a “coup” in the Island by the Greek-led National Guard. It was aborted by Turkey.

I would like to stress that a concept in Turkish synonymous to ENOSIS has never existed nor it does exist at present in the foreign policy objectives of Turkey.

Secondly, the Cyprus question did not  emerge in 1974 but rather in 1964, even earlier in 1954 following its inclusion in the agenda of the ninth session of the UN General Assembly upon the initiative of Greece with the aim of achieving ENOSIS through the application of the principle of “self-determination” of peoples in the Island of Cyprus.

Thirdly, as opposed to the assertion of partial circles that Cyprus was divided in 1974, Cyprus had been divided on the basis of two separate administrations at the end of 1963 following the collapse of the 1960 constitutional order in the Island.   The line, which represents the division in Cyprus and which is known as the “green line”, was not drawn in 1974, but in 1964.  It was first established in 1964, when Major-General Peter Young was the commander of a "peace force", a predecessor of the present UNFICYP. After stationing his troops in different areas of Nicosia, the general drew a cease-fire line on a map with a green pencil, which was later to become known as the "Green Line". 

Fourthly, the fact is that neither the Turkish Cypriots  nor Turkey are to blame for  the non-settlement of the half-a-century-old Cyprus question. It is yet another fact that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey alone  do not bear the responsibility  to search and find a solution to the Cyprus question.

The current series of the talks in the Island between Mr. Talât and Mr. Hristofyas is the eighth of its kind in the negotiating process on the Cyprus question that began in 1968 each of which have lasted average of four years.

I am in the position to state with certainty that each previous series of  the talks has been suspended or cut off  due to the Greek Cypriot Side’s procrastinating and dilatory tactics or its outright rejection of the verbal or written ideas or concrete plans put forward by the UNSG aiming at a partial or comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question. Resumption of the negotiating process could have been possible only  upon the initiative of the Turkish Cypriot side.

In the years when I have worked on the Cyprus file with authority in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I personally have witnessed how the negotiating process was undermined and documents put forward or tabled were rejected in the 1980 – 1983, 1985 – 1986, 1992 – 1994 periods by the same party that rejected the ANNAN Plan in 2004.

Let me briefly cite a concrete example: In January 1985 a Summit Meeting was held in New York between Mr. Denktaş and Mr. Kyprianou under the auspices of the then UNSG Perez de Cuellar who presented the two Leaders a Draft Framework Agreement for the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus question. President Denktaş displaying a meaningful flexible attitude on the territorial aspect as well accepted the documentation in toto. The plan was openly rejected by the Greek Cypriot Leader. Subsequently the UNSG together with the leading actors of the international community as well as the world media have all praised Mr. Denktaş for his statesmanlike attitude and his unreserved support for the solution of the Cyprus issue. Whereas Mr. Kyprianou was rebuked and criticized for obstructing an agreement. A similar development took place in 1986 too.

In his article published in the Greek Cypriot  Alithia newspaper last July, Mr. Nikos Rolandis, who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of  the Greek Cypriot Administration between 1978 – 1983, confessed that Greek Cypriot Side has rejected 15 plans put forward aiming at the solution of the Cyprus problem since 1948.  May I emphasize that 10 of these plans pertain to the 1964- 2004 period.  

Distinguished Guests,

Lately we have all been disappointed to witness the failure in 2004 of an initiative aiming at the just and lasting overall solution of the Cyprus problem which, indisputably, was the most structured, most comprehensive, most result-oriented one which also drew the widest possible attention from and received support of the international community in the history of the search for a negotiated settlement within the framework of the United Nations.  The voluminous Treaty which has emerged in the course of the negotiating process could not have entered into force due to its rejection by the Greek Cypriot people by a margin of three to one at the separate and simultaneous referenda held on 24 April 2004, despite the fact that the Turkish Cypriot people approved the Treaty by a margin of two to one. 

Consequently, not only the status quo in the Island continued, but also the wish which was also voiced today in the morning session of the Conference by Mr. Solomon Isaak PASSY, the esteemed former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, that “the United Cyprus should join NATO” could not become true.

The then UNSG Kofi ANNAN, in his report issued after the referenda on 28 May 2004, stated that “what was rejected” by the Greek Cypriot side “was the solution itself rather than a blueprint.”

The UNSG in paragraph 92 of the same Report made the following recommendation: “In the aftermath of the watershed vote of 24 April, I believe that a fundamental reassessment of the full range of United Nations peace activities in Cyprus is timely. That reassessment should include the four-decade-old search for peace in Cyprus, and consider how best to address the problem in the future.” 

Moreover, pointing to the affirmative vote of the Turkish Cypriot people in the referendum, the UNSG stated in his Report (para. 87) that “he welcomed the decision of the Turkish Cypriots” and that (para. 90)  "the Turkish Cypriot vote had undone any rationale for pressuring and isolating them.”

The UNSG called on the members of the UN Security Council ( para. 93 )  “to give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that had the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development, deeming such a move as consistent with Security Council resolutions 541 (1983) and 550(1984).” 

The leading actors of the international community, including the EU, have regrettably unheeded the recommendations of the UNSG Kofi ANNAN. The report of Kofi ANNAN, which is of historical significance, could not have been taken up  by the UN Security Council.   The report has been shelved.

In view of such a negligence or incapability or a deliberate act on the part of the UN Security Council where two EU Member States are Permanent Members, I request the indulgence of the esteemed audience if I  venture to state that  I consider that my questioning in my capacity as a humble citizen the Council’s sincerity in its lament over the non-settlement in Cyprus would not constitute a disrespect to the Council where my country Turkey holds, at present, a seat as a non-permanent Member.

Distinguished Guests,

Hitherto, the UN Security Council has adopted 121 resolutions on the Cyprus question since 1964.  It has issued many Presidential statements.  It has entrusted the UNSG a mission of “good offices” with a view to helping the two sides in Cyprus in their efforts to bring about a solution to the Cyrus problem. The main parameters of the solution have been defined. Despite all, no solution was achieved although 46 years have passed since December 1963.  Why it has been so?

The fundamental reason for this undesirable situation is that in the decades-long search for a negotiated settlement it has been proceeded not from the realities in the Island or the realities pertaining to the Cyprus issue but from the assumptions backing, supporting and consolidating the one-sided assertions of the Greek Cypriot side.   

The first ever resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on the question of Cyprus, that is, resolution 186, dated 4 March 1964, was based on the assumption that an administration which has emerged following the collapse of the “bi-communal” 1960 “Republic of Cyprus” consisting only of the Greek elements of that Republic is the legitimate Government of the “Republic of Cyprus” representing also the Turkish Cypriots. Thus, the UN Security Council has, as early as 1964, made the side which has created the Cyprus problem not need a settlement in the Island and not be discomforted  by the non-settlement

Makarios assessed the resolution 186 as “the next thing to ENOSIS”. He said: “We have secured a resolution in the first phase of our struggle in the international field. Turkey cannot in future threaten intervention in Cyprus invoking the Treaty of Guarantee”.

Distinguished Guests,

During the first 15 to 20 years following its foundation the European Union (EU) is seen doing its best to maintain equal distance between the parties directly involved in the Cyprus issue.

As a matter of fact, upon the application by Greece for membership in 1975, the EU (then EEC) Council expressed its opinion in the following terms: “The fact that the study of the request of accession presented by   Greece would not affect relations between the Community and Turkey and the rights under agreement between the EEC and Turkey would remain unaffected.” Moreover, the Commission is on the record stating in 1976 that "the European Community is not and should not become a Party to the disputes between Greece and Turkey.”

However, in the periods following the accession of Greece as a full member in 1981, the EU has taken up an attitude on the Cyprus issue openly in support of Greece. Also in the years ensuing the application by Turkey for full membership in April 1987, the disputed subjects between Turkey and Greece and the Cyprus problem have been included in the agenda of Turkey – EU relations which gradually have been turned into political conditions for progress in the process relating to Turkey’s full membership quest.  I would also like to point out the fact that until “Cyprus” assumed full membership as of 1st  of May 2004, the EU has adopted decisions that would accelerate the accession process of the Greek Cypriots in compensation of each step forward taken in the relations between Turkey and the EU.    In the period following the Greek Cypriot accession we observe that the EU is implementing the same strategy this time with the aim to leading the way to the erosion of the fundamental principles and parameters of the Cyprus policy hitherto have been pursued by both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Turkey

On the other hand, I would like to underline the fact that emergence of the need and opportunity for the  EU to enlarge towards east and south east after 1989 has been a factor that enabled Greece to utilize the EU platform in a way that would conform to her foreign policy objectives relating to Cyprus and Turkey. 

In this context, may I kindly draw the attention of the distinguished Guests to a piece of information that is carried in the official web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece.  Under the page entitled “Greece in the EU”, you may see a headline which reads "The reasons for which Greece chose full accession to the Community can be summed up as follows:” Part of the second one of the reasons enumerated reads as follows: Greece sought to enforce its.....power to negotiate, particularly in relation to Turkey, which, after the invasion and occupation of Cyprus (July 1974), appeared as a major threat to Greece” This I find very much revealing!   

Mr. Glafcos CLERIDES, one of the former Greek Cypriot leaders, in a statement he made in July 1995 explained what the EU membership is meant for the Greek Cypriots in the following terms:  If Cyprus becomes an EU member we will remove the unilateral intervention right of Turkey under the Treaty of Guarantee and in constitutional matters, and many issues raised by the Turks, we will have the trump cards.”

Distinguished Guests,

The EU Commission while expressing a positive opinion at the end of 1989 (later endorsed by the Council on 5 February 1990) on the application of Turkey for full membership also referred to the negative effects of the dispute between Turkey and one member state of the Community, and also the situation in Cyprus” on the examination of the political aspects of the accession of Turkey.

A similar view was expressed in the Declaration of the Dublin Summit held in June 1990. 

A few days after the Dublin Summit “the Greek Cypriot Administration” applied for full membership in the EU on 4 July 1990.  

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side on legal and political grounds requested the EU not to accept the Greek Cypriot side’s application.

Notwithstanding the Turkish side’s opposition, the EU has taken action on the Greek Cypriot application and processed it  to the final stage where the full membership was realized in 2004.

As the the initiatives of Turkey to establish Customs Union with the EU have been intensified, the EU announced in June 1993 that it accorded priority to the examination of the application of “Cyprus.” Later in October 1993 the EU issued its positive opinion (avis) on the application.  The EU opinion, in conformity with the position of the Greek Cypriot side, contained views which were not compatible with the concept of “bi-zonal federal” solution. Eight months later the EU Summit held in Corfu on 25 June 1994, decided that “the next phase of the enlargement of the Union would involve Cyprus and Malta.”

Moreover, concurrently with the decision taken at the Turkey – EU Association Council on 6 March 1995 establishing Customs Union between Turkey and  the EU, in which the latter has also vested interests, the EU as a concession to Greece “reaffirmed the suitability of Cyprus for accession to EU and confirmed the EU’s will to incorporate Cyprus in the next stage of its enlargement” and considered that “accession negotiations would start on the basis of the Commissions’ proposals six months after the conclusion of the 1996 inter-governmental Conference.” 

In his speech at the Turkey – EU Association Council meeting where the decision to establish the Customs Union was taken, Mr. Murat KARAYALÇIN, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, stated that “the unilateral application by south Cyprus for membership in the EU and its admission before or after a settlement in Cyprus, contravened the Zurich and London agreements of 1959 and the 1960 Treaties on Cyprus.” He also pointed to the fact that those international documents “contained provisions precluding membership of Cyprus in international political and economic unions to which Turkey and Greece do not both belong” and  “did not allow Cyprus to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any state whatsoever.”  In conclusion Minister KARAYALÇIN stated that “Turkey for her part was determined to see to it that her rights and obligations emanating from the 1960 Treaties are kept intact. Turkey would continue to be politically and legally opposed to the membership of Cyprus, in whole or in part, before her own accession to the EU as a full member like the other guarantor powers.” He added that “Turkey disagreed with the decision taken by the Council on the membership negotiations of Cyprus.”

At this point I wish to recall that at a time when the EU Council declined to grant  Turkey the status of accession candidate at the Luxembourg Summit in December 1997, it decided that accession negotiations with “Cyprus” would start on 30 March 1998.

At the Helsinki EU Summit of 10-11 December 1999 where Turkey was officially recognized as an accession candidate, the concessions obtained by Greece and “Cyprus” are quite obvious. They are explicitly embodied in paragraphs 4, 9 (b) and 12 of the text of the Helsinki European Council Presidency Conclusions wherein it is stated inter alia that “if no settlement has been reached ( in the UN-sponsored talks aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem ) by the completion of Cyprus’ accession negotiations, the Council’s decision will be made without the political settlement being a precondition.”

The concessions which were obtained by Greece in exchange of her concurrence with the decision taken at the Helsinki EU Council recognizing the accession candidate status of Turkey were not confined solely to the Cyprus issue and the subjects falling within the scope of Turkish – Greek relations. Her going along with the consensus in the Council over Turkey’s candidate status, for example, in my view, has politically facilitated Greece’s joining later in the European Monetary Union.  Yet her most important gain has been her success in making the Turkish and the world public opinion forget before long Greece’s  connection and cooperation with the PKK terrorist group and the role played in that by Mr. Pangalos, the then Foreign Minister of Greece, as it has been evidenced by the sheer fact that  the PKK chief, bearing a Greek Cypriot passport, was captured on 15 February 1999 as he has been entertained as a guest at the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic in Nairobi.

Mention should also be made of the fact that in the Declaration of the EU Copenhagen Summit which was convened on 12 December 2002, that is one month after the submission of the so called “ANNAN Plan” by the UNSG to the Parties in Cyprus as well as to Greece and Turkey, it was stated that “as the accession negotiations had been completed with Cyprus, Cyprus would be admitted as a new Member State to the European Union.”

The Greek Cypriots who have thus guaranteed in advance the full membership in the EU and later signed the Accession Treaty in Athens on 16 April 2003 owing in great part to the attitude of the EU, the main features of which have I tried to highlight concisely, rejected the ANNAN Plan in the referendum held on 24 April 2004.

The Greek Cypriot people’s vote has demonstrated that they preferred not a solution in the Island but the continuation of the status quo wherein the Turkish Cypriot people are made to live in isolation politically, economically, in respect of sportive activities.

The rejection of the solution by the Greek Cypriots in 2004 has also disproved the UN Security Council’s assumption that “the decision of the European Union concerning the opening of accession negotiations with Cyprus is an important new development that should facilitate an overall settlement.” This provision has been introduced in the texts of the resolutions which the UN Security Council have adopted as of 1996 particularly with the belief that, as the UNSG Kofi ANNAN has put it in his Report of 1 April 2003, “the European Union factor in particular offered a framework of incentives to reach a settlement as well as deadlines within which to reach it.” Moreover, it would not be wrong to say that it was also anticipated that the Greek Cypriot side would display a compromising attitude in the negotiations aimed at bringing about a solution to the Cyprus problem in order to facilitate its own accession process in the EU. Whereas the EU by lifting the established linkage in December 1999 or even earlier between reaching a negotiated settlement in Cyprus and the conclusion of Cyprus’ accession process has contributed to the failure of the UN sponsored negotiations in 2004.

Distinguished Guests,

The realities surrounding the Cyprus question do not allow me to consider and express that the linkage established by the EU between Turkey’s accession process and the Cyprus issue is fair and justified.

We are faced with a situation which is not only unfair but also incompatible with the requirements of good-intentioned policies and diplomacy. The EU while assessing the applications for the EU membership of the parties who have created the Cyprus problem and eventually admitting them as members, have not put forward the need for the solution of the Cyprus problem as a precondition. The EU has ceremoniously admitted the party as a member one week after her rejection of the settlement in Cyprus in 2004. Whereas the other party, who have voted “yes” by a big majority for the ANNAN Plan in the referendum, most probably with the exclusive purpose of joining the EU and thus enjoying the boons which have been pledged to them, have been excluded by the EU with all the unjustified isolation measures  still remaining in force on them. 

Two days after the conclusion of the referenda in Cyprus on the ANNAN Plan the EU Council issued a statement on 26 April 2004 and expressed its “determination to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.” This political commitment of the EU Council has not yet been fulfilled despite the fact that 5 years have elapsed since it was announced.

In spite of the active and visible support that has been rendered by Turkey throughout the negotiating process on the ANNAN Plan and the striking facts that the results of the 24 April 2004 referenda have revealed, the EU bodies still continue to call on Turkey to support the search for a settlement and to take certain concrete steps that would show her goodwill. In the EU Council’s Statements and the Presidential Conclusions issued after 2004, in the Negotiating Framework Document on Turkey of 2005 and  in all the Progress Reports including the one for 2009  to be officially issued in the next few days, the EU continues to raise particular matters relating to the Cyprus issue as well as to the subjects falling within the domain of the Turkish – Greek relations as a precondition for progress in the Turkey’s accession process. The EU seems to expect Turkey to take certain steps in advance pertaining to the Cyprus question which can only be considered, if necessary, after a just and lasting final political solution is achieved. In this connection I wish to stress that in 2006 the suspension of 8 chapters in the negotiating process on Turkey’s accession was not due to any difficulty that Turkey has faced in her compliance with the Copenhagen criteria but occurred for reasons merely related to the Cyprus issue.

At present we see that even the geographical position of Turkey in respect to her eligibility to the EU membership is made in Europe a subject for controversy by some politicians. Whereas the geographical   position of Cyprus which is situated at the north-eastern end of the East Mediterranean basin, 70 kms south of Turkey, on the east of the longitude that passes through Ankara, lying at a distance of roughly 100 kms west of Syria has never been questioned in terms of Cyprus’ qualifications for membership in the EU. On the contrary, in the positive opinion of the EU Commission which was issued in October 1993 concerning Cyprus’ application, the geographical position of Cyprus was mentioned at the top of the factors that make Cyprus eligible for the EU membership.

It seems to me that the EU have never taken into account, and continues to do so, to what extent its attitudes on the Cyprus issue, mostly based on double standards, could hurt the sense of justice of the people in Turkey and those in the TRNC and weaken their faith in the value judgements of the EU and also could put the political decision-making bodies of Turkey and the TRNC in dilemma.

Distinguished Guests,

In the light of the forgoing I am afraid I have reluctantly to say that we are faced with the dire reality that as far as the Cyprus issue and the accession process of Turkey are concerned the EU bodies appear to have been taken as hostage by Greece and the Greek Cypriots

As to the call by the EU for a solution in Cyprus, inter alia, based on the EU principles and values as well as on the EU law (acquis communautaire), I have to say that this approach only serves to the consolidation of the ground for a Cyprus settlement which the Greek Cypriots and Greece have been aiming at. Such an approach, at the same time, would preclude the implementation UN parameters - which have been worked out through a long process of the search for a negotiated settlement - in a fashion that would render the solution lasting.

It goes without saying it would be imperative to ensure the  continuity, legal security and certainty  of the solution to be reached by making it a source of the EU primary law. Therefore, parameters such as “bi-zonality” as well as those relating to “security and guarantees” must be kept intact by introducing appropriate derogations to the EU acquis communautaire. But the experience on the ANNAN Plan has shown that EU is far from accepting such an approach.

This morning I read the press reports about the appointment by Mr. Barroso, the President of the EU Commission, a Special Representative on Cyprus for the purpose of following the talks between Mr Talât and Mr. Hristofyas more closely. I must say that a possible more interventionist role by the EU in the Cyprus issue, I fear, might have damaging effects on the negotiating process since the current membership of the EU would not allow it to adopt an impartial stand on the Cyprus issue.

In my view the most useful contribution to the efforts to bring about a lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, which have been on the international community’s agenda for the last half a century, is to take concrete steps that would make the Greek Cypriots feel the need for a settlement. The way doing this, I believe, would be taking actions in compliance with the realities in the Island involving the existence of two distinct peoples, two States and two democracies. Indications to that effect, I believe, would help the conclusion of the ongoing negotiations between Mr. Talât and Mr. Hristofyas with an agreement.

In this connection may I recall that the Turkish Cypriot people has left the door open for a “genuine” federation as they proclaimed TRNC on 15 November 1983.

As we all know Mr. Hristofyas’ election victory last year has been described as the opening of a “window of opportunity” in efforts to bring about a solution in the Island. As I do my best to maintain this optimism, yet, I cannot but recall, as a matter of prudence, the fact that more than 40 percent of the dissenting votes cast by the Greek Cypriot people in the referendum on the ANNAN Plan in 2004 belonged to the supporters of AKEL then under the leadership of Mr. Hristofyas.

I wish also to bring to your kind attention that Mr. Hristofyas in stead of concentrating his attention and efforts  to make headway in the talks towards a solution together with his interlocutor Mr. Talat, he prefers to engage in a rhetoric, in the same manner as his predecessor Mr. Papadopoulos used to do,  by asserting that “the key for a solution is in the hands of Turkey.” He keeps saying that “for Turkey to become an EU member must not decline recognizing another EU member.” He refuses that the negotiations be concluded within a defined time-frame.

My desire to share the realities with you on the subject also compels me to say that the content of the speech which Mr. Hristofyas delivered at the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 September, in my view do not augur well at all for the future of the ongoing talks in Cyprus.

Moreover I have to point to fact that the last two prescheduled meetings in the Cyprus talks could not have been held due to excuses put forward by the Greek Cypriot side.

Distinguished Guests,

It is my earnest wish that the talks in Cyprus yield a lasting solution in conformity with the realities of the Island.

It is my fervent hope that the EU will remove soon all the obstacles of political nature like the Cyprus issue paved on the road Turkey is walking towards the destination of EU membership and remain faithful to the principle of “pacta sund servanda” in its relation with Turkey.

Distinguished Chairman,

I have concluded my presentation on the Cyprus question. Before leaving this rostrum may I be permitted to share with the distinguished audience my sentiments relating to a memorable historical event  which I have lived through.

I was one of the two Ambassadors whom the then President of the Socialist Republic of Romania the late Nikolai Ceausescu has received for the last time for the presentation of their credentials in the autumn of 1989. A few weeks later I lived through the historic revolution which the friendly heroic people of Romania realized on 22 December 1989 with the slogan “libertate” resounding in the streets of Bucharest. I was among the few Ambassadors who have hastened just a few days later to offer their congratulations to the pioneers and the Leaders of the revolution, namely distinguished statesmen President Ion ILIESCU and the Prime Minister Petre ROMAN, who are in our midst today. I had the privilege to address the friendly people of Romania on the 26th of December on a live broadcast of the Free Romanian Television. As an Ambassador I have enjoyed the exceptional satisfaction of an intensification and acceleration in the relations between Turkey and Romania which has come about soon after the Revolution as a result of the desire expressed by the new leadership of Romania to make use of Turkey’s experiences and accumulation in the pluralistic democracy and free market economy.

As a true friend of the Romanian people, today, I am more than happy that Romania will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Revolution as a member of the EU and NATO. I must candidly confess that I express my sentiments with envy.

I envy, because 2013 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Ankara Agreement creating an association between Turkey and the EU with the ultimate objective of full membership. Today I am painfully aware of the fact that the probability that Turkey would become  a full member in the EU in 2013 is not included even in the most optimistic estimations.

To conclude, Mr. Chairman, may I express my appreciation and thanks to all those who have contributed to the organization of this Conference in an exemplary fashion.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SESSION CHAIRMAN: We thank to our Ambassador Mr. Uluçevik very much.

If there are any questions, please go on.  

Yes, as there are no questions, next part of our meeting will be on the issue of “European Union and Nation State”.  I invite Mr. Hayati Korkmaz, member of the Club, in order to chair the session. 

PARTICIPANT : I am a Member of the Balkan Political Club from Greece. 

I apologize for asking the floor since I know that we are short of time.

Since this morning we are listening to one sided approach to one major issue which is entangling Greece and Turkey and I would have expected both from directorate of the club as well as the rest to give us an opportunity for a balanced opinion.

I have been running an institute of political analysis for 15 years, I would never dream of having discussing Turkey and accusing Turkey without having equal time to my Turkish friends to respond. We should at least respect the principles of hospitality. I thought this country is hospitable and I demand to take the floor.

I was until three days ago the Secretary General for European Affairs of Greece, not being the Secretary General now gives me freedom of speech. I will not follow in the path of the previous speaker. I think that is a good example of why we cannot reach an agreement.  If there is such an impassioned, such a one-sided approach and a lack of control of time when we don’t even realize how long we are supposed to speak in a conference. And I was I heard with great surprise that the gentleman was a diplomat. If we had such diplomats would perhaps, we would be reducing the size of … cape. I’m sorry for speaking in this way but I’m sorry Mr. President Mr. Zhelev that you started this, this morning with a completely one-sided approach but the question ladies and gentlemen is not to justify one side. This is why I’m not going to going to the substance of this matter. There are people who care about the two countries are coming close understanding each other not finding the opposite narratives not finding everything that divides and bringing it up. If you take for example Cyprus, the Greek side forgets what happened in the 60’s and the only start thinking what Cyprus seems the ways, intervention whatever you want call it and so we need to look at each other side at the other side and understand what we are talking about. What we have got before? Is a sort of demonist … approach that little Greece over here has no other concern neither inflation nor unemployment nor agricultural problems nor public death instead of blocking or stopping Turkey? Let me rate to rate once more the entire Greek political systems except the extreme right which is 4% position. “A position” is for Turkey to enter the EU. To enter until the same terms and conditions as we did, we went through a very painful process. Who went through their painful process? And instead of seeing in Cyprus two different narratives; the Turkey’s narrative the Greek narrative, we should see the Ireland as an opportunity to put to the desk our coexistence. If the Greeks on the Turks coexist peacefully in Cyprus which is our fondest wish then we can coexist in the largest gale of Greece and Turkey that simply enough. It was said and said and said again that the Greek Cypriots did not want to solution.  68% a year ago when the negotiation started supported the Euro unification of the island. I mean everybody uses the numbers and facts and I don’t say this is done only in Turkey also done in Greece but we need a positive approach. If we follow the path the previous speaker was following, we will never bring solutions to the outstanding problems. Let us look at the different angle; the relative strengths and merits over two countries, Turkey is becoming a large industrial country with good exports, the 16th largest economy, a large market, Greece has the largest fleet in the world to carry goods, we can share tourism on both sides of the Aegean in elsewhere. We have a lot to gain by cooperating we are together in NATO and we are committed into along Turkey into the EU. Going back, isolating, what is against the other side is not a good receipt before the future. Let me now tell you a few things about the negotiation process. I’m afraid I’m one of the best occupied to say that because I was falling the negotiations as Secretary General. Now you have the negotiating framework of 2005, there are some clear understandings that Turkey has signed, Turkey was not obliged to sign, but if one signs one must owner his signature. And I think that we need to remember that. I mean the all issue of allowing… Cypriot traffic to go to ports and airports what is the danger to Turkey from that for over ships and commercial ships and commercial planes they have signed it. Turkey has signed the Ankara Protocol that doesn’t applied if it didn’t like it the good not … they may not have signed it.  But I hope that there will be a solution before even we reach the situation of having to reconsider the all-accession process. So, I would like to conclude.

There is a long way ahead. Please take the message from Greece we are not against you, we are not against you. We want you to enter the EU because we think that typing peninsula is one historical region for which we must be proud. And when they tell us Turkey is outside of Europe we say Anatolia was homeland to us to the Turks to the many other people and it was always part of European history. So, why should Turkey be left out? Just because of its Muslim. Europe is secular.

This is the message I would like to convey today. I could come back also and starts saying what happened since 1974? I could start saying that how can a country who wants to protect the Turkish Cypriots bringing a hundred and twenty thousand settlers from Anatolia and almost put the Turkish Cypriots on the side and so on soon that it is useless. This is not the moment for that. I want I wanted our two countries to start having a positive outlook for the future.

Thank you and I’m sorry for what I said for the hospitality.

SESSION CHAIRMAN _ I would like to thank to our member for these remarks.  Of course, Mr. Ambassador has made his speech upon the invitation of our Club, so I could not make such a restriction since I thought that it would be inappropriate to interrupt him.  Now Mr. Ambassador Uluçevik raises hand, I gave him the floor in exercise of the right of reply.

 Mr. Ambassador, the floor is yours. Please keep it short.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the floor again.

Mr. Chairman, it was not my intention at all to ask for the floor for the second time had it not been for the intervention of our guest from Greece in reply to my presentation.

He said that he was surprised when he came to know that I was a diplomat. May I candidly confess that I was not surprised at all to witness his intervention and listen to what he had said. I am familiar with such a behavior on the part of our Greek friends. In my more than 40-years-long diplomatic career and my long involvement in the Cyprus issue, I have come across many times of similar reactions in several international fora by my Greek friends.

I am not a politician; I am not a member of this Club either. I am a bureaucrat, a diplomat, a retired one. I received an invitation from the Club to make a speech on the Cyprus issue.

The theme that had been selected for my presentation by the Presidency of the Club was “The Cyprus Question and The Position of the EU”. In my elaboration of the subject in an objective fashion I chose to recount the facts with reference to the relevant Documents. This is why I made several quotations from the published documents. If the facts that are embodied in the documents have discomforted our Greek guest, I am not responsible for that.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.