President Ersin Tatar has participated as guest of honour in the “Conference on Energy Investments and Cooperation in Kyrgyzstan" organised by the Union of Engineers and Architects of the Turkic World in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
President Tatar, who addressed the conference on Monday, stressed that the Turkish Cypriot People form an integral part of the Turkic World, and stated that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has last year been accepted as an observer member under its constitutional name to the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS) at the summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
President Tatar expressed his gratitude to the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, for his support to the TRNC in being accepted as an observer member to the OTS.
Stating that he is visiting Kyrgyzstan on the invitation of the Union of Engineers and Architects of the Turkic World to speak at the conference, President Tatar spoke about the Cyprus issue, the long struggle of the Turkish Cypriot People to co-exist as inherent equals and the historical developments on the Island.
“The Turkish Cypriot People have equal inherent rights – namely sovereign equality and equal international status – as one of the co-owners of the Island of Cyprus,” President Tatar said.
The President, who expressed his pleasure in being in the company of “distinguished representatives from the Turkic World at the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains in the Ancestral Land of Kyrgyzstan”, stated that he is "excited to be here, on this historical day, and I thank you for your hospitality and warm welcome to us”.
Noting that the “places located thousands of kilometres apart have become much closer due to technological developments", President Tatar added: "As the children of the great Turkish nation, it suits us to meet in this fashion, with united hearts, to catch up with and embrace each other”. He added that the visit to Kyrgyzstan had become possible "by overcoming many obstacles”.
Expressing his great respect and admiration for Chinghiz Torekulovich Aitmatov – known as one of the iconic figures in Kyrgyzstan's literature who died in 2003, President Tatar said: “As Aitmatov said: A human being cannot tell everything, words are not enough to express everything.” The President stated that the historical richness, unity of hearts, values, spirituality and cultural existence shared among the States of the Turkic World “cannot be expressed in words alone”, adding: "We will be successful because our hearts are the same."
President Tatar drew parallels between the struggle of the People of Kyrgyzstan and the Turkish Cypriot People. “In Kyrgyzstan, more than 100 intellectuals had been shot to death in 1937 during the years of political repression,” President Tatar said. “In the 1960s, the Turkish Cypriot People suffered similar massacres and barbarities. The people of our two nations share common grounds on this point,” he added.
President Tatar explained that the Turkish Cypriot People and Greek Cypriot People had established the Republic of Cyprus in the form of a partnership in 1960. He said the Greek Cypriot Side had, as part of its aspiration to unite Cyprus to Greece, expelled the Turkish Cypriots from the state apparatus of the republic by force of arms in December 1963.
“From 1963 to 1974, the Turkish Cypriots were subjected to island-wide attacks under annihilation plans, and my people were forced to abandon 103 of Turkish Cypriot villages and live in enclaves in dire conditions,” President Tatar said.
Stating that a coup d’état had been staged on July 15, 1974 by the Greek Junta and the ‘Hellenic Republic of Cyprus’ declared, President Tatar added: “The Republic of Türkiye – our Motherland and one of the Guarantor powers, undertook the Cyprus Peace Operation which ultimately stopped the acts of genocide being committed against the Turkish Cypriot People, and brought peace to the Island of Cyprus”.
“Türkiye, which is geographically located just 40 miles away from the Island of Cyprus, has always shown that she will always stand by the side and support the Turkish Cypriot People,” President Tatar said.
Referring to energy issues and investments, President Tatar underlined the success of the “Project of the Century” – the 80km-long undersea pipeline transporting 75 million m3 of water per annum from Türkiye to the TRNC. “This project has utilised state-of-the-art technology through suspended pipelines running under the sea between Türkiye and TRNC, and is providing vital water to our drought hit country, which sees far less rainfall due to global warming. This project is also allowing for our own underground water resources to be replenished,” President Tatar explained.
President Tatar stated that the use of power plants that run on fossil fuels “is also damaging to our environment and to human health due to its pollutive nature,” and said that “we are putting forward cooperation proposals for an interconnectivity system through a feasible undersea cable that will connect our energy grid to the European Union via the Republic of Türkiye”.
“We believe that the two Sides in Cyprus can cooperate on projects that will be of mutual benefit for all. . . we are taking confident steps towards the future with these mega projects,” he said.
The President added: “I have reiterated to our Greek Cypriot neighbours and on various international platforms that we support a realistic and sustainable settlement in Cyprus. The way forward for Cyprus is the cooperative relationship of two States coexisting as friendly neighbours. This is the way forward to ensure peace and stability, and this is a policy fully supported by the Republic of Türkiye.”
Stating that there have been negotiations held for more than half-a-century on the basis of a federal settlement, President Tatar said: “Despite the arduous efforts of the Turkish Cypriot Side to reach a federal settlement through negotiations, the Greek Cypriot Side has demonstrated time and again its unwillingness to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot Side on the basis of equality. In 2004, a UN Comprehensive Settlement [Annan] Plan was put to a simultaneous and separately held referenda between the two Sides, which was a culmination of decades of negotiations. The Turkish Cypriot Side in good faith voted in favour of the plan by 65 per cent, whilst the Greek Cypriot Side voted against the settlement plan by 76 per cent. A new round of negotiations again collapsed in Crans-Montana in 2017. We have stated that negotiations on the federal basis have been exhausted, and that it is now the time to think outside the federal box. I have stated that new and formal negotiations can only be started with the reaffirmation of the sovereign equality and equal international status of the two Sides.”
President Tatar stated that the Greek Cypriot Side is continuing to put forward an obstructionist approach, which ignores the existence of the Turkish Cypriot People, and one which aims to exclude Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriot People from the eastern Mediterranean. “We do not approve of an agreement being reached that is on this type of a basis,” he said.
President Tatar stated that the TRNC, which is an independent Turkish State located in the eastern Mediterranean thousands of kilometres away from Kyrgyzstan, is an integral and inseparable part of the Turkic world.
Expressing his gratitude to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Türkiye, for his efforts and support to the TRNC, President Tatar said: “President Erdoğan, in his addresses at the UN General Assembly, has called upon the international community to formally recognise the TRNC, and to put an end to our isolation by establishing diplomatic, economic and political links with our country. I express my gratitude to President Erdoğan, who voices the great injustices we continue to face in every platform.”
President Tatar added that the Turkish Cypriot Side has the same equal inherent rights as that of the Greek Cypriot Side, which is a right that emanates from history as well as through international treaties. “The Turkish Cypriot People have the same sovereign rights and rights to self-determination,” President Tatar said. “We shall never abandon our independence, sovereignty or our State, the TRNC,” he added.
Stating that Kyrgyzstan is the ancestral land of great value and importance that shares common values and culture, President Tatar drew attention to the “importance of Ismail Gaspirali -- a Crimean Tatar intellectual, educator, publisher and Pan-Turkist politician -- who famously stated that strength comes from ‘unity in language, thought and work’.”
The President reiterated his gratitude to the participants and to the people of Kyrgyzstan for their hospitality and welcome. “How happy we are that we can say we are Turkish. How good it is that we are here. Your hearts have embraced my heart. We are one heart, and this is our biggest wealth that enables us to look forward with certainty.”
President Tatar expressed his gratitude to President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov for supporting the TRNC in being accepted to the OTS as an observer member in November 2022. President Tatar also expressed his thanks to the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University Rector Prof. Dr. Ceylan Alpaslan, to the Union of Engineers and Architects of the Turkic World President İlyas Demirci, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to Bishkek Ahmet Sadık Doğan and Dastanbek Cumabekov, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Kyrgyzstan-TRNC Friendship Group, and everyone who contributed to the organisation of the conference.
Following the speeches, the honorary doctorate ceremony took place and President Tatar was given the title of honorary doctorate and his robe was put on.