Niyazi Kızılyürek: “I will work to bring the two communities closer together in full consultation with AKEL”
Statements by the General Secretary of AKEL A.Kyprianou and AKEL MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek at today’s press conference
30th May 2019, Cyprus News Agency
The newly elected AKEL MEP Niyazi Kızılyürek stressed today his intention to work to bring the two communities closer to each other, but also closer to the EU, clarifying that in the European Parliament he would not represent the Turkish Cypriot community, but the whole of the Cypriot people and European citizens, in full consultation and cooperation with AKEL.
Mr. Kizilyurek spoke at a press conference he and the General Secretary of AKEL Andros Kyprianou held at AKEL’s central offices, as A. Kyprianou said, to reply to all that has been said and written, which in some way are “undermining” the prospect of the cooperation between AKEL and Kizilyurek, but also the very personality of the newly elected MEP. At the same time he made it clear that the election of Niyazi Kizilyurek could not represent a model for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Kyprianou said that both AKEL and Niyazi Kizilyurek are fully aware of the responsibility they have assumed towards the country, the common homeland and the Cypriot people. “We have both the will and determination to work for the success of this cooperation and we want it to become a truly historic development that will chart radical paths in the history and prospects of the country and people, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins”, he pointed out.
“We have made it clear that we will be in close contact and cooperation so that we can achieve the goal we have set,” he said.
Replying to all that was and is being said both before and after the elections, AKEL’s General Secretary reiterated that Niyazi Kızılyürek’s candidacy was not community-based and doesn’t represent the Turkish Cypriot community. “Niyazi is a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus, and in this sense he is a citizen of the European Union, so he was every right to participate as both a candidate and a voter in this electoral contest. He participated in the elections in this capacity and not as a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community,” said Mr. Kyprianou.
A.Kyprianou said that with this candidacy, AKEL sought to convey a political message. Namely, that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can cooperate, provided that they share the same love for their common homeland and believe in the same political goals which are the reunification of Cyprus and for peaceful cohabitation.
Furthermore, he said that Turkish Cypriots have the right to vote and stand for election at the European elections, recalling that the whole of the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU and that the implementation of the acquis communautaire has been suspended in those areas that are not under the control of the Republic of Cyprus.
At the same time, the General Secretary of AKEL said that the approach arguing that the election of Niyazi Kızılyürek is proof that there is no need for political equality is out of touch with the real world. “Political equality must take effect after the solution of the Cyprus problem, it is an indispensable precondition,” he noted. He also referred to the existing convergence that, after the Cyprus problem, the Greek Cypriots will contest the four seats in the European Parliament and the Turkish Cypriots the other two seats. He also spoke of the fierce campaign being waged against Niyazi Kızılyürek and wondered that if he would have had the possibility of being elected if he was a candidate on any other ballot other than AKEL’s. The election of Niyazi, he pointed out, cannot represent the model for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Commenting on the attack launched by the so-called “vie-president” of the illegal regime’s “parliament” (in the occupied areas) Zorlu Tore that AKEL is seeking to assimilate the Turkish Cypriot community and capture the agreed framework of the solution, A. Kyprianou pointed out that these attacks were made by a far-right supporter of partition who has never accepted the solution of federation, noting that this isn’t AKEL’s goal and that its cooperation with Mr. Kizilyurek does not undermine the Turkish Cypriot community.
As regards the accusations Niyazi Kizilyurek is facing from inside the Turkish Cypriot community that he is serving the interests of Greek Cypriots and from Greek Cypriots that he serves Turkey’s interests, the General Secretary of AKEL said that Mr. Kizilyurek was elected with the votes of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and has a responsibility towards all voters.
“We have come to an understanding that we will work in full harmony with Niyazi. Both we and Niyazi are fully conscious that our goal is to serve the interests of the peoples of other EU Member States as well,” he said, and stated that “each one of us will be judged by his work/actions.”
The AKEL General Secretary reiterated that the Party took a political risk and expressed AKEL’s satisfaction that the majority of AKEL’s voters “embraced” this effort, while recognizing that some Party voters had a reservation and may not have cast their vote, by doing so expressing their position. “Everyone will be judged by history. Both we and Niyazi will assume the share of our own responsibility and we will work in a way that will make this cooperation a historical one for Cyprus and the Cypriot people,” he added. Asked to clarify what political risk means for AKEL, Mr. Kyprianou said that “if this effort succeeds, I don’t think they (our opponents) will give us many congratulations. It will represent a big step forward in the struggle to tear down the walls of division between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. If it doesn’t succeed, I am sure many will rush to criticize us, so we will do our best to succeed.” He made it clear, however, that he has no reservations whatsoever about the success of this cooperation.
A.Kyprianou also stressed that AKEL is the only party that works in coordination with its bodies and MEP’s, through the European Affairs Bureau of the Central Committee of AKEL.
The General Secretary of AKEL also pointed out that during the election campaign AKEL was not infallible, but said that “other political forces dropped the level low” and noted that everyone has a responsibility to promote a better level of political dialogue and political culture. He also referred to the outburst of fake news, which has the effect of demeaning and denigrating political figures with the greatest of ease, as he said.
Speaking at the press conference, Niyazi Kizilyurek thanked AKEL, who, he said, gave the opportunity for the first time to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to come and struggle together.
He said that during the election campaign he encountered a lot of suspicion and questioning and noted that many people confused European elections with national elections. EU citizens are primarily represented in the European Parliament, he noted and stressed that the Republic of Cyprus will be represented by six MEP’s in the European Parliament, but states and nations and ethnic groups are represented in the Council and Commission. “There is no question that the Republic of Cyprus is sending six representatives to the European Parliament, however we are there in the European Parliament to account for and defend the interests of all citizens of the European Union” and that includes Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins, as well as community citizens living in Cyprus, he explained.
“I was not a candidate because I am of Turkish Cypriot origin. I was a candidate because I am a European citizen and I live here where I live,” he underlined. He agreed with the General Secretary of AKEL’s position that it is wrong to consider that his election makes political equality unnecessary and said that if a federal solution were found, the four seats would be assigned to the Greek Cypriot constituent state and two seats to the Turkish Cypriot constituent state and not on an ethnic basis, saying that a Greek Cypriot living in Kyrenia would be able to contest one of the two seats in the Turkish Cypriot constituent state, as for example Yiannis Varoufakis did as a candidate in Germany. “The European elections are based on the idea of citizenship and residence. Neither nations, nor states nor ethnic groups are the basis of the European elections.”
Furthermore, he said that his election does not change the status of the Turkish Cypriots at all, as this is expressed in the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, which refers to a community and not to a minority.
He reiterated that he does not represent the Turkish Cypriot community as a political entity, but voters, the Cypriot people as a whole and all European citizens.
He said it was a procedure of “historical importance”, since for the first time in the history of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots supported a ballot jointly.
“Whether this development will be historical depends on us and how hard we will work to achieve what we want,” he said, clarifying that ” Niyazi Kizilyurek does not stand separately from AKEL, without AKEL and without the full cooperation and consensus with AKEL”.
Niyazi Kizilyurek also said that the European Parliament is not a place where the Cyprus problem will be solved and that there is much that must be done on European issues.
“I choose – and I think this is what the European Union wants as well – to help the two communities come closer together,” he said, noting that the EU’s experience of reconciliation will be very beneficial for Cyprus. “The European Union calls on us to bring the two communities closer together, and supports this in resolutions and decisions the Council has approved,” he added.
Mr. Kizilyurek also said that it is extremely useful and represents a Council decision, the Turkish Cypriots as European citizens, not as a political entity should be close to the EU, noting that he himself will act within the frameworks of EU resolutions that want the two communities to come closer to one another, but also closer to the EU.
Replying to a question, he said that his goal is to bring the two communities together, pointing out that the electoral procedure of the European Parliament gives the opportunity to cooperate, because the Constitution does not give this opportunity. He also noted that it was a very difficult to encourage Turkish Cypriots to participate in the European elections because there was an entire establishment in the occupied areas that was against this very participation.
“I did not want to be elected with Greek Cypriot votes, as I also did not want to be elected only with Turkish Cypriot votes,” he underlined.
Asked to comment on the mistrust that exists among parties about what stand he will take on issues related to the lifting of Turkish Cypriots’ “isolation”, he said that “I never talked about lifting the embargo anywhere” and “there never was any issue about the isolation, the embargo of the Turkish Cypriots”.
Niyazi Kizilyurek also referred to the foreign mass media’s interest about his election understanding, he said, the historical character of this step and expressed his regret that certain people in Cyprus doubted his intentions. “This means distorting the “whole essence” of a citizen and represents a violation of his human rights, because he was not recognized for what he is,” he said, saying “this greatly lowers the level of the country’s political culture.”
Concluding, he confirmed that “this cooperation with AKEL has only one goal, namely to do our best for Cyprus” and “we will work hard in this direction.”
Replying to a question about Turkey’s progress report, Kizilyurek said it is evident that the EU criteria are not being adhered to at all, in particular as regards the Copenhagen criteria, as well as Turkey’s Cyprus-related obligations. “This is a big problem in Euro-Turkish relations and for Turkey’s course towards the European Union,” he said. He stated that he was against the far-right and conservatives who, with their cultural and religious positions, are ruling out Turkey. “We express positions based on universal political criteria. Turkey has serious problems in fulfilling the political criteria,” he added, however, we should not resort to cultural-religious attitudes to exclude a country because it is not Christian, a position with which the General Secretary of AKEL also agreed with.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13