British MPs and Lords hold contacts in the TRNC
Date Added: 15 February 2023

British MPs Paul Bristow, Stephen Metcalfe, Brenda Clarke and Baroness Blackstone and Lord Rogan from the British House of Lords are in the TRNC to learn more about the Turkish Cypriot people’s cause and the Turkish Cypriot side’s vision concerning the future.

The delegation was first received on Tuesday by the Speaker of Parliament Zorlu Töre who highlighted the importance of the visit to the TRNC by the British MPs.

He explained that visits by foreign officials, usually carried out to South Cyprus, only served to embolden Greek Cypriot intransigence regarding a settlement in Cyprus.

Töre briefed the MPs and Lords on the history of the Cyprus problem, explaining to them how Turkish Cypriots had been forced out of the 1960 partnership Republic by the Greek Cypriots who strived for Enosis or Union with Greece.

He also said that a solution in Cyprus had not been possible because Greek Cypriots continued to see Turkish Cypriots as a minority.

Also speaking British MP Stephen Metcalfe said that they were able to get a better understanding of the situation on the island and the injustices committed against Turkish Cypriots.

Explaining that the visit to the TRNC was important in terms of seeing what kind of a role they could play for a solution on the island, Metcalfe said that their understanding was that the two peoples on the island had equal rights and that any solution needed to safeguard this equality.

He also expressed his condolences to the Turkish Cypriot people over the tragedy that struck the Gazimağusa Türk Maarif College’s volleyball team in Adıyaman, Türkiye.

Also receiving the delegation, Prime Minister Ünal Üstel said that the visit was important as very few had a good understanding of the Turkish Cypriot side’s concerns, views and vision for the future.

He also expressed the hope that the UK will ease restrictions imposed on Turkish Cypriots as well as help remove embargoes in areas of transportation, sports and commerce.

Üstel explained that there are currently 20,000 British residents living in the TRNC and over 300,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the UK.

This he added was an important development.

The prime minister also reminded that talks for a federal settlement for the past 50 years had failed to achieve a successful result.

“That is why we are advocating a two-state solution in Cyprus, one that entails cooperation and peaceful co-existence of two states on the island based on sovereign equality. This is the most realistic solution,” he said.

Üstel also said that a hotel belonging to the British Defence Ministry had been identified in the fenced-off town of Maraş and that the British government could apply to the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) for return, exchange or restitution of the property in question.

He added that the same method would apply for other British citizens who own property in the town.

The delegation was also received on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu.