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Þener Levent’s comments on the occasion of celebrations held in the south of the island to mark the 47th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. These appeared in his column in Afrika, a Turkish Cypriot newspaper that stridently opposes the Turkish presence in Cyprus, on 2 October, 2007.
Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton.
Not 1 October.
But for whatever reason it is now celebrated on 1 October.
The Turkish side, since it does not consider itself to have much to do with this republic, does not object to that…
Just as it did not object to the changes which were made unilaterally to the Republic of Cyprus constitution.
A case of the buyer being satisfied …
Along with the seller.
Since 1963 the Turkish Cypriots have not celebrated this republic even once…
For them, 16 August has been lost in the mists of time and forgotten.
Nobody remembers 1 October.
Does the Greek Cypriot side complain about this state of affairs?
It does not.
It celebrates alone …
It organises a parade on its own...
It holds a reception at the Presidential Palace on its own.
Turkish Cypriots are not even invited to this reception.
In short, the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, in which Turkish Cypriots are also partners, is only celebrated by and for the benefit of Greek Cypriots.
I look at the messages released by the Greek Cypriot leaders on the occasion of 1 October.
One can understand why a solution to the Cyprus problem has yet to be attained and why peace still remains so elusive to us from merely reading these messages.
Nobody expresses regrets as to why they are not together with Turkish Cypriots on such a happy anniversary.
Nor do they ask:
-Why are the Turkish Cypriots not among us?
There is nobody who recalls that this republic was founded as a partnership between two communities!
Is there any call along the lines of, “Come, let us reunite on the basis of this republic?”
That is not to say that Tassos Papadopoulos failed to mention us …
He has not forgotten that Turkish Cypriots are his citizens rather than his partners.
And he sent us a message, too.
-I once more assure Turkish Cypriots that their fate and futures are firmly connected to finding and implementing a just and workable settlement. Within the framework of such a settlement, respect for the human rights of all citizens without exception will be guaranteed.
This means “citizenship rights” …
In other words, individual rights …
Not collective …
What is the appropriate response under such circumstances?
-No thank you, I’ll leave it…
This is the extent of Papadopoulos’s capacity to stomach Turkish Cypriots.
That’s as far as it goes.
He only proposes to us individual rights that will be stifled within a majority.
If he had a greater capacity to stomach Turkish Cypriots, I am sure he would say the following:
-My dear Turkish Cypriot citizens…Today we are celebrating the 47th anniversary of the Cyprus Republic, which we founded together…But unfortunately you are once again not among us…Part of us is empty…We feel great sadness at not seeing you among us…Just like the Greek Cypriots, you are also an equal partner of the republic…We founded it together, we should keep it going together…
I am sure that hearing these words would dispel the concerns of many Turkish Cypriots who live in fear of one day being dissolved within a majority and this would console them.
You, just like Makarios, Kiprianou and the others, have proved incapable of being the president of all Cypriots, Mr Papadopoulos…
You have become the president of the Greek Cypriots alone…
And, unfortunately, the candidates standing to replace you in the upcoming presidential election offer no hopes in this direction.
They, just like you, have no intention of embracing all of the Cypriot people.
Otherwise, if nothing else, they would take the Turkish Cypriots into account when stressing the meaning and significance of today.
Their ever-hollow promises of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation will remain empty until such time as the Republic of Cyprus partnership is brought to the negotiating table.
We are unable to apologise for not attending the reception…
In any case, we weren’t invited…
Half of the Republic of Cyprus is yours…
Half of it is Turkey’s.
And that is your present to her!