My fellow citizens,
The anniversary of the declaration and establishment of our state is an opportunity to honour all those who offered their lives for the Republic of Cyprus and its progress but, at the same time, it is an occasion to reflect upon our course.
To contemplate -both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots- how we made use of the possibilities we had and whether there had been real opportunities for a brighter future, which we could not or did not want to take advantage of.
It is also an opportunity for a retrospection and a review of our historical course, through which we come to the realization that on many occasions, throughout all these years and especially before 1974, rather than building bridges between us we were barricading ourselves behind slogans and at times conflicting objectives.
To also reflect on why the interventions by third parties, aimed at serving their own interests, found fertile ground and resulted in a series of dramatic events – intercommunal clashes, civil conflict – that culminated with the Turkish invasion and the catastrophe of 1974.
Since then, we have been experiencing an unacceptable situation, which keeps our homeland divided, with 37% of the territory under occupation and complete Turkish control.
This is the state of affairs which we must end, after we first find the courage to acknowledge each other’s concerns and make use of all of our collective wisdom in order for the European acquis communautaire and human rights to be implemented across the whole country, without derogations for any Cypriot citizen.
At the same time, I would like to be clear: while I acknowledge that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots also have reasons to be distrustful towards us, I am not willing – and I want to emphasize this – to satisfy unjustified concerns by putting aside real and legitimate de facto concerns of the Greek Cypriots, on behalf of whom I am negotiating.
I would like to point out that the solution which we are working on will not allow, under any circumstances, a recurrence of the dramatic moments we all experienced after 1960.
The Turkish Cypriot community will now have its own legitimate federal state, which it will administered on the basis of the competences that will be assigned to it equally with the Greek Cypriot side by the federal constitution; something that will provide it with the possibility to develop its on potential.
It will have its own representation in all state bodies and constitutional protection of all its rights, as well as presence in the European Union, through the state arrangements of course.
Consequently, we consider as excessive and unjustified the insistence on military presence by third parties in our homeland or even guarantee/intervention rights, which, inter alia, distort, to the detriment of the Greek Cypriots, political equality that constituted a historical demand of the Turkish Cypriot community.
It is my belief that the time has come for us to live in a modern, well-organized European state, free of dysfunctions and open wounds.
No modern state, within the European Union and elsewhere, needs guarantees by third parties.
The solution that we ourselves are formulating should be such that it sets us free from any kind of dependence on third parties. Having the tragic experience of the past, we should be the ones to put our state above anything else and above foreign interests.
My fellow citizens,
Just before I left for New York, I had briefed the National Council on the developments so far. Over the next few days I will offer a comprehensive and thorough briefing to the political leadership and I am planning a similar briefing to the citizens.
I am taking the opportunity though, on the occasion of the anniversary of October 1st, to assure Cypriot citizens that particularly significant convergences have been achieved at the negotiations up to now, which I briefly outline below:
o It has been confirmed that the United Cyprus will have a single international legal personality, one and single sovereignty and one and single citizenship.
o The rights of free movement, acquisition of property, residence and employment throughout Cyprus have been secured for all citizens.
o At the same time, the full respect of the right of an individual to property is safeguarded.
o It is ensured that the demographic character of the island on the first day of the settlement will reflect, with a small deviation, the traditional demographic composition of the Republic of Cyprus, as it was established in 1960.
o It is ensured that the said demographic composition will not be altered in the future by outside influences.
o It is ensured that the acquis communautaire will be implemented over the entire Cyprus territory without deviations or permanent derogations.
The above will be harmoniously integrated into a constitutional framework in which the bi-zonal, bi-communal character of the state will be fully respected.
o As agreed by the two leaders: The federal constitution will stipulate that the united federation of Cyprus will be composed of two constituent states with equal status.
o The way in which the political equality will be exercised is established, including the effective participation of both communities in the decision-making process at the federal level.
Nevertheless, and without overlooking the significant progress achieved, I feel obliged to point out that:
o Differences remain on a number of issues concerning the chapters of Governance, the European Union and the Economy.
o The most significant differences touch upon the substance and the fundamental chapters of Property, Territory, Security and Guarantees, which will also tilt the scales and will show clearly whether a solution is possible.
My fellow citizens,
In New York, during the meeting with the UN Secretary-General, it was agreed to intensify even more the ongoing talks.
Without unnecessary timeframes, we conveyed once again our intention to work intensively in order to conclude our effort the soonest possible, and within 2016 if possible.
It is an ambitious objective, the implementation of which is not only up to us, but for which the existence of good will on the part of the Turkish side will also play a decisive role.
I am certain that if Turkey demonstrates the necessary political will, it will be possible to reach an agreement soon, which we will present before the people, while providing them with ample time to be informed before the referenda.
My fellow citizens,
Our single expectation remains this: getting rid of the occupation and reunifying our homeland to the benefit of all the people of Cyprus – Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
Source: Press and Information Office.