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EU Rejects Observer State Status for Turkish-Cypriots

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EU Rejects Observer State Status for Turkish-Cypriots. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In a head-spinning turn of events, the EU has just rejected an Observer State Status of Turkish Cypriots in Turkic States Body. The breaking news came just one day after Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced  that occupied Northern Cyprus had become a non-member observer state to the Organization of Turkic States.

However, the European Commission had in fact decided not to recognize the Türkiye declarations—especially as it related to the acknowledgement of their secessionist structure.

The decision is not welcomed by all. Hence, even though it has not yet been ratified, it already faces harsh criticism for being a contradiction. This is particularly since some EU members strongly support the idea of territorial integrity and the UN Charter.

Observer State Status

Observer state status is a privilege some organizations grant to non-EU members. That right then gives them the chance to participate in activities organized by the entity that gave it to them.

Intergovernmental organizations known as IGOs can often gift the observer state status if the particular party to whom they offer it is interested in their IGO.

The UN may also choose to attain that status. Some non-member states to whom the UN decided to ascribe that moniker include, for example, the Vatican as well as the State of Palestine. Switzerland, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and the EU are also observer states.

As a UN resolution, it makes them sovereign entities, if not states, under international law.

EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus

According to EEAS Europe website, the EU has repeatedly declared that it only recognizes the Republic of Cyprus. Additionally, they argue that the basis of that position is in strict accordance with respective resolutions from the UN Security Council as a subject by international law.

The Cyprus problem is plagued with one only problem. Namely, the illegal and unrecognized Turkish-Cypriot state of North Cyprus. It is for that reason the EU only recognizes the Republic of Cyprus. They consider it a de facto fake state falsely established following Turkey’s illegal military invasion.

For that reason, affirming the observer state status of Turkish Cypriot secessionist organization would be an about-face. It would also markedly cause damage to settlement talks. Moreover, it is not seen as exactly conducive to re-engaging in settlement talks with the UN’s patronage.

The endless conflict between the Turkish versus Greek Cypriots might never reach a peaceful conclusion. The events of today have, nonetheless, solidified the Greek Cypriot position among EU member states.

Republic of Cyprus’ response to the Turkish-Cypriot claims

In a press release concerning the secessionist regime’s “foreign ministry,” so to say, in the occupied areas of Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus’s Ministry of Foreign affairs stated:

Mr. Ertuğruloğlu and the illegal structure he leads seem to continue to operate in the “logic” of misinformation and fake news, failing to understand even the most obvious. A propaganda that only sounds good in the ears of Turkey and Mr. Ertuğruloğlu.

The situation in Cyprus is a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the continuing illegal occupation of the northern part of the island; an action by definition illegal and contrary to International Law and its specific provisions.

It is the Turkish invasion that continues to spread havoc and destruction for 48 years, keeping our homeland and our people divided. It is the Turkish invasion that made the Turkish-Cypriot leadership a puppet regime of Turkey that it is today, condemning the Turkish Cypriots themselves and preventing their reunification with their own homeland.

If Turkey invaded Cyprus to restore the constitutional order, as it claims, why did it not withdraw from Cyprus and continues to illegally occupy 37 [percent] of its territory?

Observer status of Turkish Cypriots

The Organization of Turkic States, formerly called the Turkic Council or the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, was founded in 2009. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan are currently members with Hungary and Turkmenistan being the observer states.

The island of Cyprus itself split in the wake of the Turkish invasion in 1975. The catalyst for Turkey’s military action was a Greek-led coup. Ever since, a Greek Cypriot administration with international recognition has run the south, and a Turkish administration has run Northern Cyprus.

For quite some time, the Turkish-Cypriots have declared that there was only one possibility, namely a two-state solution. It never received international approval though. In fact, an NGO organization urged President Joe Biden last year to oppose that proposal.

What the EU wants in contrast to the secessionist is what they call a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation—one that is based on political equality, which is again in line with the UN’s Security Council’s resolutions. It also would adhere to the standing principles upon which the EU’s member states founded it. In their mind, there is, thus, no other possible alternative.

That point of view does not leave those from the Turkish part of Cyprus with much room to maneuver. In fact, it brings things to a grounding halt, as neither side seems willing to compromise or change their position.

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