Pakistan, Turkish Cyprus need to diversify relations in areas other than ‘mere’ politics
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of the Northern Cyprus Tahsin Ertugruloglu has called for diversification in Pakistan-TRNC relations with the support of the Motherland Turkey. “There is huge potential,” he said, “in the areas of tourism, education, culture and trade and both the countries need to see beyond political relations.”
About the Pakistani community in the TRNC, he said, “We have dedicated and hardworking Pakistani community, students, businessmen and they are contributing to economic growth and prosperity of the country.”
Foreign Minister of TRNC expressed these views Monday in an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Monday, a day prior to the summit of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday (today).
Foreign Minister of TRNC said Pakistan was a friendly country and his country valued its recognition and support in TRNC conflict with the Greek Cyprus.
Pakistan is one of the TRNC’s 27 foreign missions in the world, he said, adding, seven alone were in Turkey. While pointing to TRNC Representative in Pakistan, Ms Dilsad Senol, he said he was glad to see she was performing her duties in a highly professional way and the TRNC’s foreign mission in Pakistan was working perfectly.
About the OIC’s annual moot of the Foreign Ministers, Tahsin Ertugruloglu, however did not show much optimism saying the forum was more or less a formality, a platform where resolutions were just passed. I have been attending the OIC meetings for the last many years and have realized that it (OIC) has to go a long way in becoming a truly practical, proactive and effective body.
TRNC Foreign minister said his country appreciated the Pakistan government’s efforts for highlighting the plight of the Afghani people, particularly women and children, in the wake of the recent days of unrest and change of command there.
On the conflict with Greek Cyprus, the Turkish Cyprus foreign minister without mincing words made it clear the core responsibility for resolution of the conflict lay with the United Nations and its ‘subsidiary’ the European Union.
“Although it is good we see many resolutions passed at the UN yet the real challenge is the implementation of those resolutions,” said the foreign minister.
He said the EU’s double standards were exposed when it unilaterally recognized the Greek Cyprus pending the case of the Turkish Cyprus indefinitely. We want the same treatment, same recognition as we are a party to the conflict, he said. How is it possible that one state in the same island qualified for the Copenhagen standards of membership and the other didn’t, he asked.
About any headway to end the decades-old conflict between rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots that destabilizes the Eastern Mediterranean and was a key source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, he said, there was no common ground between the two people on the divided island and sooner or later the world would have to recognize two states one island.
Not recognizing a state does not mean that it had ceased to exist, said the foreign minister of the TRNC adding continuous embargos had a crippling effect on the economy of his country. Not only our economy, sports, foreign policy and development and investment all have been adversely affected and sooner these restrictions are over the better, he said.
Later the FM also delivered a talk on “Cyprus Issue, Implications for Peace-building in the Region” at Riphah Institute of Public Policy, Evacuee Trust.