Turkish Cypriot Leader in Jeddah to secure support of the OIC

The Turkish Cypriot Leader Dr Dervis Eroglu has held talks in Jeddah with the leadership of the 57-member Orgaisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and has requested to open a Permanent Representative office at the Organisation’s headquarters.

Eroglu met yesterday with the Secretary General of the OIC, Professor Ekmeleddine Ihsanoglu who welcomed the request and said he would discuss the matter with the organisation’s host country Saudi Arabia. The OIC chief said his organszation would give priority “to ending the illegitimate isolation imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and pledged “OIC’s solidarity with the republic at political, economic, social and cultural levels.” However, he urged both Turkish and Greek Cypriots not to miss the opportunity for negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in order to set up a federal system and hoped the talks would lead to a just and lasting political solution to the issue.

This is Eroglu’s first visit to the OIC and it comes following Ihsanoglu’s visit to Nicosia in November when he met with the Eroglu as well as other Turkish Cypriot officials. Ihsanoglu also announced the Turkish Cypriots’ plan to host an investment forum in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank next week. “We hope the forum would open new horizons of investment cooperation between the republic and OIC countries,” the secretary-general said.

The “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, (TRNC) was established on northern part of the island of Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion of the Island following a military coup in Cyprus led by Greek officers. The coup was supported by the Fascist military junta which at the time held the government in Greece. The TRNC is only recognised by Turkey, but it is an observer member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and in the course of his discussions with the OIC leadership Eroglu expressed his desire to become a full OIC member.

Talks have been going on for many years under the auspices of the United Nations in an effort to resolve the Cyprus problem. Speaking in Jeddah yesterday Eroglu said there is no point in continuing talks with Greek Cypriots as negotiations in the past have failed to reach a settlement. “I believe the world, especially Islamic countries would recognize the fact that Greek Cypriots do not want any settlement.” The Turkish Cypriot leader backed the UN plan to hold a multiparty conference including Turkey, Greece and UK. “This may be the last chance for a settlement in Cyprus,” Eroglu said and offered his readiness to the make the conference successful.

He said the United Nations have so far failed to solve the Cyprus issue. “Seven or eight secretaries general have come after the issue, but we could not see any settlement in Cyprus. We expect the UN to change its resolutions so that it can recognize Turkish Cyprus and we can have our own state and our own rights.”

The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union and will take over the EU Presidency in July.

source: LINKS Analysis with Arab News

photo: The President of the self declared Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, Dr Dervis Eroglu (r) with OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu (l) at a Press Conference in Jeddah on 7 April 2012. (Picture courtesy of the Saudi News Agency)