Is there a Turkish Cypriot state?
A while ago socialist Sıtkı Süreyya Önder, a deputy from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was speaking in Parliament on the Cyprus issue. It was a lengthy speech. At one point he suggested that 1980 coup leader Kenan Evren should be tried not only because he led the coup but also because he established in 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Had that speech been made by anyone else but a BDP deputy a major controversy would have started in the country, but it has become a routine to ignore the “extension of the separatist gang in politics.”
İsmail Cem, one of the longest-serving foreign ministers of the post-1980 period, had stressed in his memories as well that Turkey never, ever had a policy of promoting the Turkish Cypriot state or acquiring its international recognition.
Right, perhaps as late President Rauf Denktaş frequently stressed, it would have been a disaster for Turkish Cypriots if the world recognized their state but Turkey did not. Yet, is there Turkish recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state? Or, is there a Turkish Cypriot state?
Nowadays there is a battle continuing in northern Cyprus. It is not a usual battle of words between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. This battle is between the Turkish Embassy and Turkish Cypriot Presidential Office. It is not fought under the Geneva Convention rules. It has turned into a war of attrition. Be it the establishment of a theology college, religious courses at schools, who is to be granted citizenship, what facilities should be accorded to whom or who should be the next leader of the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) and the government, the Turkish ambassador is doing everything possible to promote the policy priorities of the Ankara government in northern Cyprus.
Is it possible for a diplomat to complain to the media about the president of the country he is posted to? Or, is it conceivable at all with the notion of diplomatic ethics for an ambassador to call a college and instruct them to hand over a certain “unused facility” to a theology course? Or, to deliver interviews and statements publicly accusing the bureaucracy or political parties and leaders of the country he is posted to?
Obviously the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Ankara is rather confused. Either Ankara annexed northern Cyprus and appointed a governor but somehow we still believe there is a Turkish Cypriot state there, or there must be something wrong somewhere… How could an ambassador – who was a former head of the Turkish assistance team to Cyprus and appointed as ambassador despite a letter from the Turkish Cypriot presidency to the Ankara government stating that he was not even wanted as the head of the assistance team – act like a governor general in a country recognized by his country as an “independent state”?
Perhaps Sıtkı Süreyya Önder was right and the proclamation of the Turkish Cypriot state was a big lie by Turkish leaders to the nation and indeed northern Cyprus has long since become the 82nd province.
Is there indeed a Turkish Cypriot state recognized by Ankara? Has northern Cyprus become a province or a colony of Turkey?