I am not happy with the Republic of Cyprus’s attitude towards the Turkish Cypriots,” says Member of the European Parliament Niyazi Kızılyürek.  “Unfortunately, European Union values often fall behind the interests of member states.”

Over the weekend, we came together as a group of journalists and had the opportunity to talk for over two hours.

Kızılyürek “abstained” in the vote held on the European Union’s Report on Turkey. He is worried that Turkey could deviate from the path of “full European Union membership“, turning the process in the direction of a “special relationship“… He believes that such a step would have negative implications both for the reunification of Cyprus and for the democratization of Turkey.

He acknowledges the positive aspects in the report, of course.
For example, the report’s reaffirmation of the basis of a solution as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single international legal personality in line with United Nations resolutions… The European Union also warned Turkey for deviating from the United Nations framework and called on them to “abandon the unacceptable proposal for a two-state solution“…


According to Niyazi Kızılyürek, one of the most important elements of the report is the responsibility it places on the Republic of Cyprus: “To bring the Turkish Cypriots closer to the European Union.”
“What could this entail?” we ask…
“What couldn’t it… The scope of the Green Line could be expanded, thereby both production and employment in the north will increase, the economy will develop. We could have a joint hospital, an energy park, and a university. Turkish should already be a European Union language…”

Kızılyürek believes that the Turkish Cypriots need to be much more “visible” in the European Union to better convey their problems…
“This cannot be done by sitting alone; contact, diplomacy, and initiatives are necessary,” he says.

“As Turkish Cypriots, your most important advantage is European Union citizenship, and some are trying to make you forget that. Especially among the youth, there is a strong wave of identity and ownership regarding the Turkish Cypriot identity and European Union membership. There is significant potential for both the economy and the business world as well as the youth, so the European Union is extremely important… You will use the European path to escape the deadlock.”

“It can’t be done through complaining and whining”

Kızılyürek is concerned about the extremely negative mindset in the northern part of the island and views the attitude of “No matter what we do, nothing will change” as a regressive ideology.
“Some probably want it to be this way, and they are specifically working to cement this sentiment, thus preserving the status quo,” says Niyazi Hodja [Translator’s note: Hodja in Turkish means teacher. A title showing respect for academics or experts].

He explains that life doesn’t change by repeating [the term] “occupation” or nationalist rhetoric five times a day.

After expressing that there is a “sense of resentment and introversion within the Turkish Cypriot community”, he reacts when comments are made suggesting that “it’s difficult without a solution.”
“We need a struggle and left-wing politics because there is no solution. That’s exactly why… If there were a solution, everyone would already be living a different life within the normalization process.”

Kızılyürek also shares his concerns…
“The state of being at peace with a divided Cyprus is gradually settling in on both sides of the island, and this is extremely worrying. The Turkish Cypriots’ capacity of being a [political] actor erodes day by day. If you don’t have a utopia to fight for, your spirit to fight on will also break down. That’s why I see the European Union as the way out. Our business world could open up much more to the European market. Our children could more commonly study in Europe and speak multiple languages.”

He also emphasizes the need for a change in the culture of existing through reactions to the other. Kızılyürek advocates for a more constructive and cooperative approach, and says, “It can’t be done with complaints and whining”.

What does he propose?
“More intensive diplomacy with both the institutions of the European Union and the Greek Cypriots… On one side, there is a fear that the TRNC will be recognized, and on the other side, there is a fear of being absorbed into the Republic of Cyprus as a patch… To be patched onto something else, you first need to put on your own pants. Turkish Cypriots need to be much more demanding… Not by complaining to the European Union about the Republic of Cyprus but by presenting their own agenda; by working through consultation and diplomatic mechanisms.”

3 Headings, 3 Calls!

Three calls stand out in the European Union’s Report on Turkey…
We remember these along with Kızılyürek’s evaluations.

It reminds Turkey: Turkish Cypriots are a legitimate community of the island, and they have gained this right through the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. Act accordingly!
It is actually saying “stop intervening in their will, their values of life, and their freedoms”

It repeats that the Commission should accelerate efforts to establish relations with the Turkish Cypriot community…

It underlines that the Republic of Cyprus is responsible for expediting efforts to facilitate the relationship between Turkish Cypriots and the European Union. It directly assigns “responsibility” to the Greek Cypriot leadership…

I hope that the European Union’s calls go beyond just reports…

An important opportunity for Press Freedom

A significant step has been taken for the freedom of press in Europe.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education voted the “Media Freedom Act” with an overwhelming majority and adopted the draft.
“This is an extremely important development for you,” says Kızılyürek…

The Media Freedom Act establishes legally binding standards to protect press freedom in all European Union countries.
It’s one of the most debated issues in our country as well…

The law, whose draft was approved in the committee, will be put to vote at the Plenary Session of the European Parliament in October.

It is necessary to raise one’s voice, work, and even fight for the  approval of this “law” as it is, in the “TRNC Parliament.”




Born in 1971 in the town of Limassol, Cyprus, Cenk Mutluyakalı migrated to Kyrenia together with his family after the war. He began journalism at KIBRIS newspaper in 1989. He took part in establishing the United Media Group. He was the Editor-in-Chief of YENİDÜZEN newspaper for 20 years between 2001-2021. He continues to write daily essays, news reports and interviews for Yenidüzen newspaper. He served as the President of the Turkish Cypriot Press Card Commission and Turkish Cypriot Journalists Association. He was awarded with various prizes throughout his career, the most recent being the “Peace Journalism Prize” by the bicommunal New Cyprus Association. Mutluyakalı is an author of published books of essays and interviews. He is also the author of a novel titled “Salıncak” (Swing) published by Kor Kitap and translated into Greek by Heterotopia Publications with the title «Η κούνια».

You may also like

Comments are closed.