The land of great-hearted people

The land of great-hearted people

28 November 2018, 17:44 1295
As you get off the plane a man is surrounded by a native aura. Smiling positive faces, as if you were previously familiar with them. The island that wholly covered by the sea, neat houses and roads are a pure delight. Turkish Cypriots speak in Ottoman Turkish language, while  they have their own sweet-sounding dialects. In a word,  this controversial island located in the Mediterranean Sea is perfect  for relaxation. Tourism and education fields are major revenues of Northern Cyprus. Hotels built along the  Mediterranean Sea  enlarge opportunities for attracting tourists. The number of tourists soars year by year. Thus, the number of tourists coming to the island has exceeded a million in 2018. We have ourselves witnessed the tourist flow in Lefkosha and Gazimagusa cities.  Around 60% of tourists come from Turkey and 34% from European countries (England, Germany and Poland, etc.).

Currently, capacity of hotels in North Cyprus is about 25 thousands people, but this figure will reach 40,000 in the near future. The local government plans to achieve  2 million tourist target in 2021. The principal drawback  in the development of tourism is the absence of direct flights to Cyprus except for Turkey. As the dispute with Greek side still remains unresolved, so recognition of Northern Cyprus by the international community could not have been accomplished yet.  
                        Fruitless negotiations for 50 years 
Cyprus  have remained  a controversial and conflicting region since its liberation from the English colony in 1960.  The common state, founded by the Greeks and Turkish Cypriots  living on the island  survived  for  three years.Thus, after a while  the Greek side tried to dominate through  suppressing the Turkish Cypriots. As a result, the deprived Cypriots started struggling to protect themselves, their possessions on the island. The processes resulted in  bloody events. Turkey salvaged Turkish  Cypriots  and became their protector.  
Then, the UN peacekeepers were involved in the region. In 1968, peace talks between the Greek and Turkish communities of the island began under the mediation of the United Nations. Notwithsatnding that  over 50 years have elapsed since then, but no results can be achieved via negotiations. Officials from the Turkish part of the island say that over lack of constructiveness of the Greek side the negotiations  are fruitless.

During the meeting with foreign journalists visiting the island, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Kudret Ozersay spoke about the details of  negotiations process as an official represented in the delegation carrying out negotiations with the Greek side. He noted that  from the very beginning the negotiations have been  conducted on the model of the federative state to be established under the equal rights  of Greek and Turkish sides.  As well as, the solution to be found must be appropriate both to the island's two communities and international forces in the region. Nevertheless, a suitible solution option could not have been achieved yet.  For the last 50 years, as a frozen conflict  the Cyprus issue has been waiting for its solution.  Since 1963, the world community has recognized the Greek Cypriot government as a representative of the island.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded by the Turkish side of the island in 1983  and  no foreign country has recognized it  except for Turkey, that is the biggest drawback  for the Turkish side.

The minister said from the very first day  they had held sincere talks on the model of representing two nations in a federal state. Even in 2004, a referendum was held in both sides on a settlement plan prepared under the mediation of the UN representative . While the Turkish community of the island said "yes" to this plan,  the Greek community opposed the plan and said "no".  In a report  made after the referendum,  the UN representative noted that  the Greek side was not ready to divide powers of the island administration.
                               Gas fields causing tension
 K. Ozersay says that whatever is on the island, including the hydrocarbon reserves, should be considered as a joint resources  of Greek and Turkish sides  and should be used together.Regretfully,  the Greek side does not want to admit this fact. For example, they are attempting  to work with other countries on the gas reserves found on the island, and keep the Turkish side away from this. However,  the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus considers that it is a very unfair position which will aggravate the situation on the island. 
As mentioned above, the issue, which is currently on the agenda of Cyprus and causes tension, is related to gas reserves discovered on the island. The Greek side wants to work on its own with Israel, Egypt and other countries.  However, speaking on behalf of the Turkish side and its defender, Turkey stated  that they would not  not allow it to happen.  K.Ozersay says this issue  is a good example of the sharing of powers. But the Greek side does not seem ready for it. "The Greeks say we have found, produced gas and today sell independentlyş Moreover, we may talk with you only if there is a solution to the problem," he said.
While talking to journalists President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,  Mustafa Akinci stressed that they are not in favor of the fruitless negotiations extending to eternity. The Turkish side is seriously concerned about  keeping the Turkish side out of gas negotiations by the Greeks: "The UN report also notes that minority, majority  concepts are unacceptable. Each federal subject must have equal rights. We want equal rights, "the president pointed out. Reaching  an agreement on the future of the island would be very crucial  for the security of both communities, the European Union, Turkey and the region as a whole." he added. 
According to M. Akıncı, adoption of a Greek Cypriot as a state representing the whole island  to the EU was  a big mistake. As a continuation of this, they want to work by their own  on the island's gas fields.
                                 Fragile borders dividing the island
There is a fragile border between the Greek and Turkish parts of the island.  Citizens of the Greek side can freely enter  to the Turkish side and vice versa. But foreign citizens from  the third countries  who visit Turkish side of the island are considered to have come from the "occupied lands" by Greeks and are not allowed to enter to Southern Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriots  eagerly learn their history and never forget about the tragic events in the 1960s. For example, Barbarian Museum was established in the center of Lefkosha, the capital city. The museum was created in a small house, where all members of the family who are actively participated  in struggle for liberation of Cyprus were burned. The museum rooms feature photos displaying  horror at that time. Mass graves in Gazimagusa, that was a scene of great heroism and atrocities during the liberation struggle, are also preserved.

Despite all the difficulties, Northern Cyprus, the Turkish land celebrates the 35th anniversary of its independence. On this occasion a solemn military parade was held in Lefkosha on November 15.  The show  by "Turkish Hawks" was welcomed with special enthusiasm. In spite of difficulties Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus created as a result of  the struggle and heroism steps confidently. Day by day it grows, develops, and waits for the day when the truth to be recognized by all.
Ilham Guliyev
Baku-Lefkosha -Kyrenia-Gazimagusa-Baku