December 13, 2017

Right of Reply by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Sotos Zackheos in Response to the Foreign Minister of Turkey’s Speech at the 56th General Assembly

Mr. President,

I am taking the floor in exercise of the right of reply to the statement delivered on 12 November, 2001, by H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Ismael Cem who, regrettably, did not hesitate to, once more, engage in the well-known rhetoric replete with threats and misrepresentations concerning the situation in Cyprus.

Mr. Cem expressed the well-known arguments against the accession of Cyprus to the EU, referred to the so-called ‘realities’ on the island and misrepresented the position of President Clerides with regard to the proposal by the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Mr. Denktash for face-to-face negotiations. Let me make a few things clear.

1. The accession of Cyprus to the European Union is a process that involves the Europeran Union and the Republic of Cyprus. May I remind Mr. Cem that the European Union has clearly established that no third party has a right to veto Cyprus’ accession, which will be based on the merits of its case. The European Commission, the EU member states, as well as, the United Nations Security Council have made it abundantly clear that there is no legal onbstacle to the membership of Cyprus to the European Union. Membership does not constitute  “union with another state”, and, thus, does not violate the provisions of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, as claimed by Turkey.

2. The so-called “realities” are those stemming from a clear violation of international law by the Republic of Turkey, in its invasion, subsequent occupation, the policy of ethnic cleansing inflicted on the Greek Cypriot population, along with an array of human rights violations, that have been clearly documented and have led the European Court of Human Rights to issue its landmark decision of 10 May 2001, finding Turkey in violation of articles 2,3,5,6,8,9 and 13, of the European Convention of Human Rights, and articles 1, and 2 of its protocol No.1. The so-called “realities” of which Mr. Cem speaks are nothing more than the faits accomplis, created by Turkey in Cyprus, through the use of force and based on the forceful separation of the two communities of the island in pursuit of secessionist aims.

3. With regard to the letters exchanged between President Clerides and Mr. Denktash, I wish to inform you that President Clerides responded immediately, on 8 November 2001, explaining that a tete-a-tete meeting in Nicosia should be a good idea, immediately after the acceptance by both sides of the UN Secretary-General’s invitation to talks. Let me remind you that Mr. Denktash refused on 5 September 2001 , the invitation of the Secretary- General, for the resumption of the process, which he had abandoned a year ago. The Security Council has expressed its disappointment on 26 September at the unjustified rejection of this invitation by the Turkish side. President Clerides wrote to Mr. Denktash that they should not be abandoning the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary- Genral and the process in which he and his Special Representative are involved. Following a response by Mr. Denktash on 12 November, in which he indicated that his aim was not to abandon the Good Offcies Mission, President Clerides expressed his readiness to have direct talks, in the presence of the Representative of the Secretary-General, in order to keep the Secretary-General informed of what is being discussed and what progress is being made so that the Secretary General would, in turn, report to the Security Council.

We express the hope, Mr. President, that Mr. Denktash will, now, display the necessary political will and seriously engage in the negotiations,with good faith, for finding a just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem, within the parameters set by the Security Council Resolutions.

Thank you Mr. President.