New options should be put on the negotiating table, the president of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Sunday, calling for a two-state solution to the Cyprus issue.
In his speech at the official ceremony marking the TRNC's 37th foundation anniversary, Ersin Tatar said a federal solution is not possible due to the "uncompromising attitude" of the Greek Cypriot administration.
"Now, the solution based on sovereign equality, a two-state solution, should come to the table,” he said. “The two peoples and two states existing in Cyprus should cooperate on the basis of existing realities."
He stressed the importance of establishing an independent state, and recalled Turkey’s help and support in this regard.
No one should expect us to abandon the active and actual guarantees of Turkey, and to sever our ties with Turkey, he said, mentioning Ankara’s aid to overcome financial difficulties.
“We have not forgotten, and will not be able to forget [those times],” he said.
The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north, and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece.
Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 put an end to years of persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.
The TRNC was founded in 1983.
Our declaration of independence on Nov. 15, 1983 is a result of the Greek side's refusal to accept our sovereign equality and the international community's refusal to listen to us, Tatar said.
He added that the Greek side rejected political equality, and continued to demand a solution that would evolve into a unitary state with zero soldiers, zero guarantees and absolute Greek rule.
“We, as the Turkish Cypriots, are ready to return to the negotiation table, but now there should be new solutions," he said.
The TRNC leader also spoke on the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that the TRNC is determined to protect natural resources in the country's continental shelf.
We are grateful to Turkey's support in this direction, he said.