President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Ersin Tatar`s exclusive interview with AZERTAC VIDEO
Baku, October 18, AZERTAC
On October 16, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Ersin Tatar, who was on a visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan, gave an exclusive interview with AZERTAC on the results of his visit to the country. Here is the interview.
- Mr. President, you have been in Azerbaijan for four days. What are your impressions about the visit?
- I can say that my visit is going very well. We arrived in Azerbaijan with a large delegation, which includes ministers, folk bands and representatives of travel agencies – in total, more than 150 people engaged in various spheres. Our aim is to introduce the tourism opportunities and culture of Northern Cyprus. We have held a number of meetings with government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Most importantly, I was received by President Ilham Aliyev and we discussed many issues.
We in Northern Cyprus are saying “one nation, three states”. Azerbaijan today has strong ties with Türkiye. We rejoice at all the successes of Azerbaijan and support your country. In particular, the whole world has seen that as a result of the victory in Karabakh and the anti-terror measures carried out in recent days, the sovereignty of Azerbaijan has been fully secured. I once again cordially congratulate the President and Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, his comrades-in-arms and the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan on this occasion. This is a great victory. During the leadership of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev and the 20-year tenure of Ilham Aliyev, who successfully continues his path as President, Azerbaijan has covered a very serious road of development. We, the Oghuz Turks, are connected with each other by historical, cultural and spiritual bonds. At all our meetings, we reviewed issues of unification of all Turkic states under the umbrella of the Organization of Turkic States, the strengthening of economic, trade and cultural ties among us, so that these relations become even stronger and future generations get to know each other better.
We saw a brotherly attitude and love in Azerbaijan. Going back home today, I will carry greetings and love to Northern Cyprus from here. Although geographically we are far from each other, the age of technology eliminates this distance.
- Mr. President, during your stay in Azerbaijan, in the run-up to it, our country experienced a historic event. The President of Azerbaijan raised our flag in Khankendi, Khojaly, Aghdara, Asgaran, and Khojavand. It would be interesting to find out your opinion about that.
- This is a development that causes a feeling of pride. I am happy that Mr. Ilham Aliyev raised the flag of Azerbaijan in Khojaly and other cities on the 20th anniversary of his election as President and that it also happened during my visit. It is also very important for us that our flag always flies in Northern Cyprus. A month ago, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, while receiving participants of a meeting, including our minister of internal affairs, said that the flag of Northern Cyprus would also fly at our events. He attaches great importance to the flag. We in Northern Cyprus treat the flag the same way, because the flag is an attribute of our national values, national determination, independence and sovereignty. In Azerbaijan, I saw Turkish flags everywhere. This closeness of the two Turkic states and the alliance established after the signing of the Shusha Declaration is extremely important. These ties are developing between Northern Cyprus and Türkiye, as well as with Azerbaijan, which we call a brotherly country. Therefore, the fact that this important event coincided with my visit makes the visit even more valuable.
- Mr. President, at the press conference in Baku, you said that tourism and student exchange were the core components in the partnership between Azerbaijan and Northern Cyprus. I wonder how many Azerbaijani students are currently in Northern Cyprus? Do you have an exact number?
- For many years, thousands of students from Azerbaijan have been receiving education in Northern Cyprus. In recent years, this number has slightly decreased. There are various reasons for this. However, I can say that there are about 500 Azerbaijani students in Northern Cyprus today. There are also many Azerbaijani teachers working in Northern Cyprus. Numerous events related to Azerbaijan are organized there, many figures of art come to Cyprus. Mr. Ilham Aliyev expressed a wish for more Azerbaijanis to study in Northern Cyprus. I want the same. I think our students should be educated here as well. In addition to students, it is possible to organize an exchange of teachers. Northern Cyprus is more accessible today. There are daily flights from any airport in Türkiye to Ercan Airport in Northern Cyprus, which means that this distance can be traveled in a matter of three hours. I believe that as political contacts increase, the ties between us will become even stronger, including those in the field of tourism and education.
- Mr. President, how would you assess the potential for the development of trade between Azerbaijan and Northern Cyprus?
- The most important spheres for us are tourism and education, as Northern Cyprus is built around an island economy. I have seen people here engaged in agriculture. I have seen people who can bring our products to the markets here, and I believe that we can work together in various spheres over time.
- Mr. President, did you touch upon topics related to new areas of cooperation during your visit?
- My visit is mainly political. The support given to us by President Ilham Aliyev, the speeches and statements made by such a world leader as Mr. Ilham Aliyev to communicate the truth about Northern Cyprus to the whole world are very important for us. Of course, next to us is Türkiye, which we call “Motherland”, and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But Mr. Ilham Aliyev's authority in the world is also immense. Azerbaijan has achieved great progress in the last 20 years thanks to him. I think that his support for Northern Cyprus will also be effective for the whole world, as our meetings here contribute a lot to the protection of the rights of the Turks of Northern Cyprus. The whole world already considers that, along with Türkiye, Azerbaijan is also close to the Turks of Northern Cyprus. There are many countries friendly to us in the Organization of Turkic States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. However, the Western world, under the influence of Greeks of the region, refuses to cooperate with us. Their solidarity is rooted in history, but our solidarity is also rooted in our history and culture. In this sense, the support we receive from Mr. Ilham Aliyev is very important and valuable for us. Our current visit is historic. We have seen great support here, for which we are grateful to President Ilham Aliyev, as well as the Azerbaijani people as a whole.
- Mr. President, you have been participating in the Organization of Turkic States in the observer status for some time, so I would like to ask your opinion about that as well.
- A year ago, at the Ninth Summit of Heads of State in Samarkand, we were unanimously granted the observer status. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan played a huge role in this. It was a historic event. Northern Cyprus is there as a Turkic state. There have been other judgments as well. We have been treated unfairly, as people were saying that “there is only the Republic of Cyprus in Cyprus”, “Turks are separatists”. But they should be aware that we are a separate state. We are a separate nation with its own language, religion, race, past, struggles, culture, national and spiritual values. And this nation has created its own state, a democratic modern state recognized by Türkiye. Living in their own land is vitally important for the people of Northern Cyprus. Otherwise, the people of Northern Cyprus would disappear. In the struggle against those who 60 years ago expelled us by force of arms from the territory we call the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, who committed genocide against us, who forced us to live in tents, we have built a state with the support of Türkiye and in 1974, after the Cyprus Peace Movement, peace was established in Cyprus. This peace benefited the Turks, but it benefited the Greeks even more because after the Turkish soldiers brought peace to the south, the state of South Cyprus, with the support of the whole world, was able to gain great economic benefits and develop. However, it was because of the peace in the region that they were able to develop. In the case of war, this development would never have happened. It is very important that the peace established on the island with the arrival of Turkish soldiers in 1974 continues.
We are now embarking on the implementation of a new policy. What is happening in Israel and Palestine today shows how far the world is from resolving such issues. So they will look at Cyprus, they will look at the realities in Cyprus, there have been two states in Cyprus for 60 years now. For 60 years now, these two nations have lived separately. Let no-one try to unite us, because it is not right. If they do, blood will be shed again. Turkish soldiers and army will be there to maintain the peace. Türkiye`s guarantee will be continued. In this case, peace will last forever. Therefore, the fact that Türkiye is with us is of vital importance.
- Mr. President, thank you very much for taking time for the interview.
- Once again, I would like to thank the entire Azerbaijani people. The Turkic people of Northern Cyprus are a brotherly people to Azerbaijan. Your struggle and victory in Karabakh made us very happy. The people of Northern Cyprus are always by your side. I once again convey the love of our people to you.