Statement by Presidential Spokesperson Ambassador İbrahim Kalın

22.02.2017

Deputy Secretary General and Spokesperson of the Presidency Ambassador İbrahim Kalın held a press conference at the Presidential Complex.

Spokesperson Kalın stated:

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif is paying a visit to our country today on the occasion of the High Level Strategic Council meeting. He and Mr. President will meet this evening along with their families. There is strong cooperation, strategic partnership and coordination between Turkey and Pakistan. I would like to take this occasion to express that we condemn the terrorist attack that took place in Pakistan last week. We wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives. As you know, the fight against terror is one of the problems Pakistan has to deal with. On this matter, cooperation mechanisms have been established at different levels with the Pakistani administration. In this regard, Mr. Prime Minister will pay a visit to Pakistan next week to attend a multilateral meeting. He will visit Pakistan to attend the Summit Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

Mr. President will pay a visit to Russia in March to hold the next meeting of the High Level Strategic Council, which we regard as an important visit in terms of the ongoing normalization process. As you know, one of the important steps of the normalization process, ongoing since last June, is lifting the sanctions, previously put on the agenda because of the plane crisis. The work on this matter is ongoing and it is among our expectations that it will have been fully concluded during this visit. During this visit, we will also have a chance to discuss Syria, the fight against terror, Iraq, bilateral relations and other matters.

The 26th of February, this Sunday, will be the anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre. I would like to once again wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives -613 Azerbaijani brothers and sisters, including 83 children and 106 women- on February 26, 2017 as a result of Armenian attacks. I offer our condolences to the people and state of Azerbaijan. I would like to state that we stand beside Azerbaijan in its rightful struggle and will continue to maintain our position. We reiterate our call to all sides for the resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, for the freedom of the Azerbaijani lands under Armenia’s occupation, and for the initiation of a normalization process in the Caucasus.

Another important topic on our agenda is the referendum that will be held on April 16. After the conclusion of the work in the Parliament within the framework of the constitutional change, now it is time for the people to have their say. As the leader, who brought up this topic in Turkey, Mr. President will continue to be in the field in the upcoming process for nearly two months. He will pay visits to provinces, hold press conferences, give interviews, meet with the youth and occupational groups. By doing so, Mr. President will have a chance to directly share with the people the structure of the Presidential System of Government and what it will bring to Turkey. We know that our people also have such an expectation. We believe it is highly important that they hear the pros of this system directly from the President.

The vote, which will be held on April 16, is of great importance to Turkey in terms of reaching the level of contemporary civilizations, being a stable, powerful and prosperous society, putting into effect a system, which has well-established checks and balances mechanisms and observes democratic principles.

The constitutional change very strongly preserves the principle of separation of powers, one of the most fundamental principles of democracy. The separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches is one of the most fundamental elements of democratic administrations. In the current system, the government is formed from within the parliament. Here, the separation of powers is very clearly-defined. The most important part is that the people are given the right and means to directly elect the executive and legislative branches.

I believe it will bring clarity to the ongoing debates if Mr. President, as a leader who has developed a political style by making contact with the people directly, tells the people about the matter, because we see from time to time that the counter arguments, produced to cloud judgements although they have no rational basis, do not yield any beneficial outcomes and are brought up under the topic of polarization.

However, the most fundamental nature of the proposed system is that it directly depends on the people, because the people will not trust the politics if it does not trust them. A system that is not based on the people and trust them cannot serve them and gain their trust. Therefore, we would like to reiterate that the nation’s will is above all sorts of will.

Another important point is that the referendum on constitutional change will secure political stability. What we have lost as a nation and state because of coalition governments since we switched to the multi-party life in 1950s is well-known. Hopefully, we will mark the beginning of an era that will completely end the era of coalition governments in Turkey. Securing political stability with this system will also lead to acceleration in reforms, increase in investments, boost in economy and people’s control over both the executive and legislative powers, the government and the parliament, thus enabling Turkey taking a great leap toward its goals for 2023.

Another important matter, friends, is that –we have been watching since morning- trials regarding the July 15 coup attempt has begun and is ongoing. Bringing the terrorists in uniforms –we do not call them soldiers- who staged the July 15 coup attempt and committed treason is of great importance to making them pay for their actions. It also clearly shows that the legal system in Turkey, Turkish courts are working.

Some of them shamelessly and unabashedly said ‘Yes, I conducted the coup’ and some of them denied what happened as if nothing had happened. However, we, as a nation, will follow the trial process and see no one gets away with anything. We will never forget the 248 lives we lost on the night of July 15. We will never forget our over 2 thousands veterans. We exert all our efforts to ensure that such a dark night, such a sinister coup attempt never happens in Turkey ever again. We will make sure of that in cooperation with our people.

As you know, Mr. President paid a visit to the Gulf last week. This visit to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, three members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, has constituted a step of paramount importance in terms of our relations with the Gulf. As you know, there was a Strategic Dialogue Mechanism between Turkey and the GCC, established back in 2009. However, it had not performed as well as we desired due to various reasons.

During this visit, Mr. President discussed in detail with Saudi Arabia, one of the most important members of the GCC and Bahrain, the current term president of the GCC, accelerating this mechanism and producing concrete outputs. 4 agreements were signed in Bahrain in various spheres. With regard to our intensifying diplomatic traffic with the Gulf, the Emir of Kuwait will pay a visit to Turkey next month. And we will have made close contact with 4 GCC members in a short period of one, one and a half month. And probably after the referendum, Mr. President may pay visits to other Gulf countries in the upcoming months and they may visit us. However, I especially would like to share with you that this traffic will continue to intensify.

During our visit to the Gulf, we brought up the issue of fighting against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and discussed it with officials. We welcome the measures taken by the Gulf countries against the FETO, which poses a threat to Turkey’s national security. The countries I just mentioned, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries have begun to take serious measures in the region against the FETO, their schools, institutions and associations.

We also inaugurated a Turkish school, affiliated to the Ministry of National Education, in Qatar. These schools are particularly important in answering the question whether there will be any hardship when FETO’s schools are shut down or transferred to the Ministry of National Education or the Maarif Foundation. The Maarif Foundation, establishment of which was led by the President himself and which is closely monitored by the President, has assumed significant role in Turkey’s fight against the FETO abroad. And I can say that we have begun to reap its fruits.

In the last 6 months, 17 schools and 10 dormitories in Africa have been transferred to the Maarif Foundation. In addition to that, many of FETO’s schools have been either taken over by the state or shut down in North Africa, the Balkans, Pakistan, Asia and many other places. Our fight on this matter will be continued with determination in all areas. The FETO, which have tried to realize its treacherous plans by hiding behind Turkish schools and Turkish Olympics, will not be tolerated anywhere in the world. According to a bill we have adopted, only official schools and institutions will be able to use the title of ‘Turkish school’ from now on. I would like to share with you that the efforts of the Maarif Foundation will continue to accelerate.

Another important topic is that a witch-hunt has been launched against members of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) in Germany without any real reason or basis. We see that as an unfortunate decision based on political motives. DITIB is a very significant institution, which was established in Germany according to German law and has been serving the Turkish Muslim community living in Germany. They have always been in contact with German authorities and conduct their operations with full transparency.

What is interesting is that in a period when the far right is on the rise, refugees are assaulted, Islamophobia and Xenophobia have escalated, terrorist organizations such as the PKK and the FETO roam free in Germany where nearly 3 million Turks live, all these facts are set aside and prosecution against DITIB’s members has been started, which brings to mind that there are ulterior motives. Keep in mind; the DITIB not only meets the religious needs of the Turkish Muslim community in Germany and other European countries but also has played a critical role against radicalism and terrorist involvement, important matters of our age.

DITIB has played an important role in Europe in preventing people from joining terrorist organizations such as DAESH, Al Qaeda. It is a great accomplishment of our Presidency of Religious Affairs. It is surely unacceptable that such a counter propaganda has been launched against DITIB when it should be commended. As I said earlier, in a period when various terrorist organizations such as the PKK, the FETO and the DHKP-C roam free in cities of Germany and other European countries, what should be focused on is not DITIB’s members but these terrorist organizations.

Another important matter I would like to share with you is the ongoing Al Bab Operation, conducted as part of the Operation Euphrates Shield. This is also a matter, Mr. President closely follows. As you know, the operation, launched last August, has been continuing successfully. The objective here is to make the 2 thousand km2 area, including Al Bab, a terror free safe zone. When we look at the Jarabulus-Azaz-Al Bab line, we see that it has been largely achieved. Operations inside Al Bab are being conducted with great sensitivity. Our special forces and members of the Free Syrian Army exert great efforts and show great care to avoid civilian casualties while fighting against DAESH. Completely clearing DAESH from Al Bab and establishing peace, stability and political order there just like it has been done in Jarabulus, Azaz and Dabiq is very important to the fight against DAESH, because the success in Al Bab is very important to clearing Raqqa, the last stronghold of DAESH in Syria, of this terrorist organization completely.

I know you have questions about Raqqa like ‘What is the latest situation? What kind of coordination is there?’ Let me underline something first; as we have expressed before, it is unacceptable that the Obama administration supported the PYD and the YPG, which are extensions of the PKK and terrorist organizations, on the grounds that it fought effectively against DAESH. Actually, the myth that the PYD/YPG is the group that fights most effectively against DAESH in Syria has been levelled to the ground with the Operation Euphrates Shield we launched in Jarabulus. We have clearly seen in the Operation Euphrates Shield that when given support with the right coordination, legitimate groups, real Syrians, the FSA and other groups that have no ties to terrorist organizations can put up an effective fight against DAESH.

The PYD/YPG has gained ground because of the support the US provided to it. Therefore, when this support is stopped, arguments like ‘they have control over the field, they are doing this and that’ will have no validity. Our suggestions and proposals to the US administration has been in this direction. Mr. President brought up this matter during his phone conversation with Mr. Trump. We also voiced the same matter during Mr. Prime Minister’s meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference last week. Similarly, we also voiced the same matter during Mr. Çavuşoğlu’s meeting with his counterpart and Mr. Fidan’s meeting with CIA Director, whom Mr. President received here. We even brought up this matter again during the meeting with Senator John McCain here two days ago. The argument that there is no alternative to the YPG has no validity. There are alternative forces. We can surely do this together.

Why is this important? If we are to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity and stability of its future, we can only do that with the right actors. One can neither truly fight against DAESH nor take steps to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity and social coherence with organizations like the PYD and the YPG, which conduct separatist activities there. The General Staff is conducting the operational efforts regarding Raqqa under the coordination of Gen. Hulusi Akar. As you know, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford of the US came to Incirlik last week and he and our Commander discussed this matter in detail.

Our expectation and suggestion is that action be taken with the right actors in the fight against terror in Raqqa and other areas, in Syria. We have the means and the power to do this. This is also an affirmation of Mr. President’s statement that we will be both in the field and at the table in Syria and Iraq regarding the fight against terror. We are currently both in the field and at the table in Iraq and Syria. Why? This is a political must for our national security. It is also inevitable in order to stably guarantee the region’s future.

I would like to briefly refer to Astana and Geneva processes. While the fight against terror continues in the field, efforts for a political transition also continue in an intense way with Astana and Geneva processes. The Astana meeting was held last month. Now, the Geneva meetings will continue. We do not see them as alternative processes. We see them as complementary processes. UN Special Envoy De Mistura’s participation in the Astana meeting reaffirms our approach. Talks between the regime and the opposition on how the political transition will happen will continue under the roof of Geneva. We will continue our supportive efforts for a political transition process focused on actual problems within the framework of the UN resolutions. We will simultaneously continue the Astana process so that the ceasefire, declared on December 30, will continue.

Despite the violations of the regime and militia groups, the ceasefire is being implemented to a great extent, which is a significant accomplishment. But, it is not enough. It will only stop the fire. What truly matters is to stop the war and achieve a political transition process. We will continue to exert intense efforts to this end.

Regarding the Turkey-EU relations, our EU Minister Mr. Ömer Çelik is in Warsaw today for meetings on Turkey-EU relations. Our Foreign Minister have had several contacts on that matter. Our fundamental expectation from the EU is that they take steps on visa liberation as soon as possible, keep their promises regarding Syrian refugees, lift the blocks on opening new chapters and develop a strategic perspective that will chart a new route for Turkey-EU relations. Constant postponement of Turkey’s EU membership because of the rising far right, populism, upcoming elections in European countries and the refugee crisis and even occasional accusation of Turkey is unacceptable. When you look at the matter objectively, it is very clear who is 2-3 steps behind on these 4 topics I just mentioned and who should take a step.

Regarding the fight against terror, we expect the EU to stand beside Turkey in a stronger and clearer manner. Because, Turkey’s security is not only Turkey’s security. It is also the region’s security. It is also Europe’s and the Balkans’ security.

The normalization process with Israel still continues. Within this framework, Our Culture and Tourism Minister paid a visit to Israel and bilateral visits are expected to be continued. Our approach has always been that Israel-Palestine conflict should be resolved in a fair and enduring way based on a two-state solution. The two-state solution also means the Palestinian people gain the independent, sustainable and sovereign state they deserve. In this regard, I would like to express that we do not accept the Israeli government’s policies on illegal settlements, which has been intensifying in recent weeks, they should stop. Since the very beginning, these settlements have been the most important obstacle undermining the peace process. Everyone, the US, Europe, Israel, Asia, agrees on that.

The second important point is that steps that might endanger the current status of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque should be abstained from. There is no need to explain how sacred the Al Aqsa Mosque is to the Muslims. Wrong steps taken on that matter will only increase the tension there and cause indignation in the Islamic world.

Finally, the bill calling for banning the adhan (Muslim call to prayer) being broadcast through loudspeakers from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m is in the Israeli Parliament right now. Mr. President brought up this matter during his phone conversation with the Israeli President. We would like to reiterate our call; silencing the adhan, which has been recited there for centuries, –given the sacred status of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque- is absolutely unacceptable and would be grave mistake. We hope the Israeli government will take the necessary steps and correct this mistake as soon as possible. We will continue to follow this matter very closely.

Now we can continue with your questions.

Question: US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to Turkey. He had talks with Mr. President and the ministers. Without doubt, the issue of Manbij was discussed during these talks. Was it said during his last visit to Turkey that Turkey would launch an operation unless the PYD withdrew from Manbij? That is to say, was a specific timeline set out? Secondly, you touched upon the Raqqa operation. Is there any ongoing process of joint planning between Turkey and the US with regard to the Raqqa operation?

Spokesperson Kalın: As you know US President Trump has given an instruction to his own staff and units. The works to lay out a new roadmap in the fight against DAESH are underway. One of the most important targets of the intense diplomacy we have been conducting over the past two weeks is to come up with an accurate plan and thus to carry out this fight with proper methods and actors. As I have just said, there is an alternative we have proposed concerning the operation into Raqqa and the joint fight against DAESH. We can achieve this. We have the power and the means to achieve this. Our works in this regard will definitely continue.

As we have also repeatedly brought up during the Obama administration, they always used to tell us regarding the PYD presence in Manbij that their number there was very small or they had completely withdrawn. But we have always said: ‘We won’t take heed of these data as long as they are not confirmed by our own intelligence sources. According to the data we have, the PYD/YPG elements still maintain their presence there under various covers or names such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).’ We continue to discuss this issue with the Trump administration. Because as I have just said, these steps should be taken with the utmost care so as to secure Syria’s territorial integrity and to prevent any ethnic conflicts.

Pay attention, important articles have been published in the US press on this issue. Very detailed reports are being published regarding the possible war crimes committed by the PYD in Manbij. Those, who are working to sugarcoat or vindicate this terrorist organization in the context of anti-DAESH fight will grasp the gravity of the issue once they read these reports. Many obvious crimes are being committed there in a large variety of areas, including driving Arabs from their villages and towns, resorting to ethnic cleansing, suppressing the opposition and even killing the opponents, silencing the press, recruiting children under 18, conducting PKK propaganda and engaging in anti-Turkey activities. It is not possible for us to overlook these crimes. Therefore, we will continue to keep on the table these matters, which are related to the anti-DAESH fight in general, whether it be Manbij, Raqqa or the next stages of the al-Bab operation.

Question: Iran has made a statement today regarding the situation in Syria. Claiming that Iran is in Syria and Iraq at the invitation of these countries, Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated that those who had entered these two countries without permission or invitation should either pull out or they would be kicked out by the people. Also considering the exchange of messages between Turkey and Iran in the recent period, how do you view this statement?

Spokesperson Kalın: Let me tell that first of all: Iran is an important neighbor to us. We share a long border. We have always favored dialogue with Iran both in our bilateral relations and in the solution of the regional problems. However, this doesn’t mean that we are to ignore Iranian administration’s efforts, from time to time, in attaining influence in certain regions beyond its natural borders. We have lived and continue to live this in the field of Syria and in the field of Iraq.

An argument like ‘we are here at the invitation of the regime’ doesn’t bear any validity in our consideration. Because we already do not recognize that regime. And we should ask how many countries in the world recognize this regime? We had better take this into account. In other words, which regime is it that Iran claims it is collaborating with to enter there and thus this is a legitimate step? They should question this first of all. It they believe that collaborating with a regime, which is the murderer of over 600 thousand people, is a legitimate attitude in terms of the international relations, then this is an issue that should be decided upon by the Iranians themselves.

We are following the statements made, from time to time, by Iranian deputies, politicians, bureaucrats or ministers. We are not in favor of any conflict or escalation. Yet, Turkey’s position in the fight against terror in Syria and Iraq is clear and obvious. Instead of criticizing Turkey, such countries, including Iran, should see and appreciate Turkey’s efforts and self-sacrifices in the fight against DAESH. Pay attention, today everybody is speaking of anti-DAESH fight. However, many countries are actually working to redesign the region, wage proxy wars or gain ground on the pretext of the fight against DAESH. We are witnessing the results of this situation. I am of the belief that Iranians themselves should evaluate why their relations with the Gulf States and many other countries in the region have come to the point of completely breaking. Our efforts, martyrs, and self-sacrifices in the fight against DAESH are already apparent.

If you remember, when the Kobane issue came to the fore about one year and a half ago, the entire world focused on Kobane and they made this name known to all. Why did they do so? They did this as part of a blatant plan. Who recalls it today? Fighting against DAESH on the front line, Turkey has martyrs and is in a serious struggle. Rather than appreciate this struggle of Turkey’s, some countries both from the west and the east voice such criticisms against Turkey which we don’t take seriously. If you are talking on behalf of the state, you should speak with figures and handle these issues in a serious manner. We are putting up a very serious struggle here for the future of the region and Syria as well as for our own national security. Turkey doesn’t need permission from any other country to take action against any threat to its national security regardless of whether it originates from Aleppo, al-Bab, Raqqa, Tal Afar or Sinjar.

Question: You have just mentioned but Mr. Minister of National Defence said in the morning at a television broadcast that Turkey will clear the PYD from Manbij if the US doesn’t. He laid out a clearer picture. How close is this possibility?

Spokesperson Kalın: All the options are on the table. As I have said, our discussions and consultations regarding this issue are still underway. The Obama administration has unfortunately left behind two problems in Turkey-US relations: the support given to the PYD, and the issue of FETO. We couldn’t make any progress on these two issues with the Obama administration unfortunately. Whereas, if we can overcome these two issues, Turkey-US relations will advance on a more accurate path. Our consultations with the new administration are ongoing to achieve this. The Manbij issue preserves its sensitivity within the framework I have just drawn up. We will continue to monitor the issue very closely.

Question: Mr. President spoke with US President Trump on the phone. And a face-to-face meeting is expected. NATO Leaders Summit, due for May in Brussels, is pointed to for a meeting between the two leaders. Will the first face-to-face meeting will take place there?

Spokesperson Kalın: NATO Leaders Summit will take place in May. Mr. President will meet with President Trump during this summit. However, our efforts for a meeting before the summit are ongoing. It is of great importance that the two leaders come together and talk these issues face to face. Telephone conversations are important for sure, but they will have an opportunity to discuss Turkey-US relations in all its aspects. Our works to this end are continuing.

Question: Turkey has ongoing talks with Russia related to missile defense systems. Can we expect a concrete step to be taken in the High Level Cooperation Council meeting next week concerning the procurement of S-400 missiles? And how would such a step possibly affect Turkey’s relations with NATO?

Spokesperson Kalın: Talks related to S-400 missiles are being conducted by the Secretariat for Defence Industries within the knowledge of Mr. President. Our friends are closely following the issue. Of course, the negotiations have many technical aspects. I don’t know whether the negotiations can be concluded before the High Level Cooperation Council meeting but the issue will definitely be on the leaders’ agenda at the meeting.

As regards the second part of your question as to whether it is compatible with NATO, we have discussed this many times in the past. We don’t see any incompatibility. There are many relevant examples. We know that some NATO countries have used such defence systems in the past. And the question of its technical compatibility is an issue than can be resolved very easily. What is more, it a defence system. We are talking about a system aimed at ensuring Turkey’s security.

As you also remember, we have discussed the issue of missile defence system in a very detailed manner in previous years. At the time it was said that ‘if Turkey heads for a different alternative outside NATO system, this might cause problems inside NATO.’ Then we asked how so? On the issue of missile procurement, we observe three criteria: cost, delivery date, and joint production - i.e. technology transfer. We strike a deal with the country that makes the best offer in terms of these three criteria. Turkey is an independent and sovereign state. It acts on its own priorities while making decisions related to its own defence and national security. Our technical teams have conducted very detailed analyses of the offers based on the criteria I have just mentioned. On top of that, when you make a list of the offers as 1, 2, 3, the best offer shows itself automatically. Therefore, our choice is in this direction. We don’t expect this to result in any such problem inside NATO. What matters here is to install as soon as possible the missile system that will ensure Turkey’s national security and to do this by means of technology transfer and joint production so as to make sure that Turkey is able to produce this technology on its own.

Question: You have spoken of an increasing traffic of visits both by Mr. President and to Turkey. Likewise, an important name, President Mesud Barzani of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (IKRG) will come to Turkey at the weekend. We know that such topics as Mosul, Sinjar and Bashiqa camp hold an important place in Turkey-IKRG relations. Will Mr. President hold a meeting with Mr. Barzani?

Spokesperson Kalın: Mr. Barzani will have a meeting with Mr. President. Mr. President will receive Mr. Barzani. As you know, Mr. Prime Minister already met with Mr. Barzani in Munich, and in Arbil during his last visit to Iraq. These meetings are conducted because we have many issues to address. Iraq matters to us in every respect including economy, security, our border security, demography, culture, etc. It is very important to maintain this traffic.

That is because the Arbil administration, in the person of Mr. Barzani, is on the same page with Turkey on the fight against DAESH and PKK. The more we strengthen our cooperation on this issue, the better for Iraq and Turkey. Given the Baghdad-Arbil tension in retrospect, we always acted by taking this sensitivity into consideration. Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister first went to Baghdad with a large delegation, and then to Arbil. That is to say, we are conducting these talks by taking these balances and sensitivities into consideration. During the reception by Mr. President, we will address in depth such issues as the fight against DAESH and PKK, the ongoing operation in Mosul, Tal Afar, Sinjar and other relevant topics.

Question: The ongoing negotiations on the Cyprus issue face a crisis due to the Enosis decision of the Greek Cypriot Parliament. The leaders were to come together tomorrow but it has been announced that the Turkish side will not attend the meeting. How do you evaluate the situation? What impacts might the Greek Cypriot side’s insistence on the Enosis decision have on the negotiations?

Spokesperson Kalın: Thank you for the question because it was also among my notes. First of all, let me stress that Mr. President has laid out a very important principle regarding the Annan Plan, which came to agenda back in 2004. This principle is, ‘We will always be one step ahead on the solution of the Cyprus issue.’ And Turkey has always been one step ahead over the past 13-14 years. The Greek Cypriot side, on the other hand, said ‘no’ in the referendum in 2004 and thus triggered a crisis in the unification process of the island.

We have almost come to the same point 13 years later. The conditions have changed in the meantime but both the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey have always displayed a constructive attitude over this period. We have made intense efforts so as to implement a bi-communal, bi-zonal and sustainable political system in the island. And finally, a summit was held in Geneva regarding the issue. This summit was actually going to be organized at the leaders’ level; however, it didn’t take place at the leaders’ level because of the delaying by the Greek Cypriot side.

We have now started to see the reason behind this. For example this Enosis decision; it represents the Greek Cypriot side’s ideal for their union into Greece. The ideal or dream of Enosis is being tried to be revived through this decision. On one hand you speak of a bi-zonal and bi-communal unification of the island, but on the other hand you bring up ideas or dreams for the union of the island into other countries. This is unacceptable.

In fact, this Enosis decision bears importance in that it exposes the Greek Cypriot side’s true intentions. And it reaffirms the rightfulness of the Turks and Turkey in their concerns for and insistence on security and guarantees. Because as you know, one of the conditions put before us was that ‘Turkey gives up on security and guarantees and a new security model is established in the island.’ Yet, we have been stressing since the beginning that Turkey’s guarantor status in the island is not against the Greek Cypriot side, but is aimed at protecting Cypriot Turks. It also aims to ensure peace and stability in the East Mediterranean. This Enosis decision proved once again the rightfulness of our stance on the issue of security and guarantees. We hope that the Greek Cypriot side cancel this decision. Bringing up such a decision at such a critical stage of the negotiations will definitely have a negative impact on the future course of the negotiations. It is the Greek Cypriot side that has to take a step.