Girne deputy Fikri Toros from Republician Turkish Party spoke to Voice of the Island. Toros made evaluations over his practices since the establishing of government, practices of assembly committee and current situation regarding Cyprus problem. Pointing out that there is a quite productive committee structure at the assembly Toros emphasised that this is a never-before-seen phenomenon. Representing his ideas on Cyprus issue Toros recorded that political resolution is a must for Cyprus and should be a prior issue in politics by stating, ‘’Problems such as wars, political disputes have been brought us to this point. This is unacceptable and cannot be maintained’’.
‘’What do you would like to say about practices of the government up to this day?’’
Fikri Toros: Following elections dated January 7, 2018 they noticed that 4 of 6 parties that take place in the assembly share a large common ground and the country could not be entrusted to National Union Party (UBP) alone. This coalition takes a social responsibility by gathering on a common ground despite their different ideologies. So it begins. This is first time that a 4-party coalition is structured in our history. I think that they progress with a great success at their own idealist paths. Of course when contrasting to expectations of our community it can be claimed that their performance is not happening with a great pace. I can show empathy towards this situation. The budget was confirmed by the assembly and come into force. We have to bear in mind that at the time this government was established and took over there was not a budget even exist. The budget came into force after approval of the assembly on March 2018. Having local elections, situation in Turkey which followed by decrease at the value Turkish Lira and economic crisis came up within and a maelstrom which was both affected citizens and businesses with a fixed income, we have reached to this day.
‘‘We quickly pass laws which were become dusty at the shelves since last 10 years’’
I never agree with expressions like ‘’We had been in power for so many years and despite that we set forth all of our energy, we failed’’. The successes of this government or rather this coalition partnership are not only seen in the government but in committees of the assembly. We are making law in a pace and number that have not seen before. We have a productive committee structure right now. This is also another never-before-seen phenomenon. I can easily say as the chairman of the committee with the busiest agenda, we quickly pass laws which were become dusty at the shelves since last 10 years and we pass the half of these laws by unanimous vote. The opposition also shows a beautiful and constructive cooperation. Therefore, it is very important to see these positive changes.
‘‘How do you evaluate the progress on the Cyprus issue?’’
Fikri Toros: We are an isolated community since 1963 in our home country. This isolation made us lonely and weak and it crippled us with social, cultural and economic erosion. Unfortunately, we are a community who do not have an equal political statue in our country. The legality of deeds of land, in which we worked for and spent all our money, is arguable. We are a country that could not connect with any country around the world except European Union acquis in which we are a nationality position closed to the world. The incidents that brought us to this position are wars and political disputes that still continuing. This is unacceptable and unsustainable. If we let these disputes going, sooner or later we end up in a tragic atmosphere like seeing barbed wires everywhere, as we see today. I am a person experienced all of these in person. I saw the roads of Ledra Palace Hotel covered with dead bodies. Eventually, to keep these disputes going will lead us to the same point. This is why a political resolution is a must in Cyprus and should be a prior issue in politics. All Cypriot communities should share the same idea.
‘’Prosperity and security cannot be stable in a divided country’’
Greek Cypriots consider themselves very comfortable. This is actually what came into mind at first sight. However, prosperity and security cannot be stable in a country with inconsistent and insecure policy and in a divided country. These were my personal thoughts on the history. A quite constructive and productive negotiation period, which has a progressive vision, has been started between Respectful Anastasiadis and Respectful Akıncı 4 years ago. This process continued until July of 2017. In contrast with previous periods a great intimacy has been achieved. When this negotiation process had failed in Crans-Montana, the general secretary summarized our differences not even a full page, but half. This is his confirmation to my point of view.
Now it is time to look at the future. I always do my best in my each speech to not to lay blame one or another. Even though it is obvious who is to blame or bear responsibility for this, we have to move on. Mustafa Akıncı, to me as the negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot side, gained confidence of Greek community and even international society. We have a leader that who is worthy to be trusted due to his consistency, constructiveness and his focus on a federal resolution depending on EU Parameters. It is not only me to claim this but also Greeks. In these EU reports several opinions of Dear Akıncı included concerning futuristic ideas on this process. His ideas on how important are to take confidence building measures and how extent we fell behind of the potential are also included. There are other ideas such as since the past negotiations had passed a political resolution must be reached in a reasonable duration beginning from Crans-Montana etc. also take place in these reports. Mission of Dear Lute who was assigned by secretary general meets this aim. Regarding the future I would like to point out that a mutual agreement must be achieved by means of this mission. Respectful Secretary General should set a date. Until this date necessary arrangements should be executed by both sides in the Island. I wish to come into a resolution as soon as possible towards mutual acquisitions without interrupted by any tension might be created both in the Island and sea surrounding the Island.
‘‘What is your expression on the decisions were taken by two leaders during their last meeting?’’
Fikri Toros: Unless Turkish Cypriot side has such serious, determent, consistent and reliable stance regarding federal resolution any of these progresses had happened. I have a full belief to that. Confidence building measures are the most important ones towards to road to the final purpose of Cyprus being a federal resolution depending on EU Parameters. Accordingly, I consider this as an amazing milestone, a stop point. In any way, these kind of relations and cooperation projects can substitute resolution or towards to it. Towards the purpose of a federal resolution, it not only serves to the daily lives by bringing quality into their lifestyles but also lets them see how synergic gains they will get by unity of Cyprus. It will not be like seeing or reading it.
‘’I am one of the people to support how important to take confidence building measures at most.’’
Since 5 years, I am one of the people to support how important to take confidence building measures at most parallel to political resolutions. I am also one of the team members that design and develop joint communications network project. I consulted with per team member and am speaking as a person in the team. I would like to say that we produced this model together and represented it in presence of two leaders at the end of 2015. I am very glad to this model was accepted after 3 years. Similarly, to unite electric networks permanently has the same importance. I think it will create a quite positive effect since the energy in Cyprus is a problematic matter. There is a polluted and extremely expensive energy producing. Accordingly, this kind of synergic cooperation will open the way to renewable partnership.
‘’Removal of mines is the last step before the resolution.’’
Another issue is the removal of the mines. Commitment from both sides concerning removing of mines from nine areas of each is the last step before the resolution including the negotiation process. In this point of view, I look at this as a matter of great importance. This is great. I am waiting with excitement. It will be a great pleasure to me to be there during removal and witness this moment with my bare eyes. On the other hand, the respect attributed to these artists and their importance is among our socio-cultural values. That is a great jest either. Akıncı was the first to do this jest and Anastasiadis replied back. I wish mutual maintenance of this kind of confidence building measures. As soon as these measures start to be applied you will witness an irreversible milestone moment which we had witnessed before when the border gates opened. Once this environment is achieved the process will be irreversible. I believe in this with all my heart. More gates should be opened in Nicosia. This will stimulate cooperation, movement and cultural heritage. Each gate creates a new effect.
‘’What does your call to the Turkish Cypriot community?’’
Fikri Toros: Please keep aside Cyprus negotiation process from your daily lives political thinking. I am a person who respecting any political thinking, being friend or being in work with people from different political vision and I show nothing but respect for all. I believe in democracy at a great extent. Please keep negotiation process of Cyprus above the politics. Unless we unite as a community on resolution of Cyprus issue, this extinction risk our community has will continue increasingly.
“Immigration pace will continue increasingly’’
Our immigration pace will continue increasingly. We continue to lose our economic power and as it is in all around the world, we will turn into a dark society. We will abandon our homeland. We need to get the sense of ownership. We need to use every means available to this process. Do not mind those sayings about we are making concessions to anyone. We never compromise on our consistency in any of EU Security Council resolutions, in negotiations among leaders and in any policies we determined in cooperation with Turkey. Likewise, we never make an unrequited concession and do not mean to. What we need to unite as a community. Please hold Cyprus issue above your daily life political thinking.
Voice of the Island 2019