Turkish Cypriot
Chamber of Commerce

Brussels Representation Newsletter
 

                                                                 ISSUE 1, APRIL 2013

Turkish Cypriots - Only EU Citizens who are not represented in the European Parliament

KTTO President Dr.Günay Çerkez sent a letter to the Members of the European Parliament, asking their support for allowing Turkish Cypriots to be represented in the EU Parliament. Currently Turkish Cypriots are the only EU citizens who are not represented in the EU.

Letter from Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce

"Turkish Cypriots are the only EU citizens who are not represented by their own elected representatives in the European Parliament..."

                                                                                       16 April 2013

Dear Distinguished Member of the European Parliament,

I am writing to ask for your support to the amendments tabled by various political groups to MEP Ria Oomen Ruijten’s 2012 Progress Report on Turkey, asking the President of the European Parliament (EP) to invite two elected representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community to the EP in line with the decision of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in this respect. The report will be voted in the EP Plenary on 18 April 2013 in Strasbourg.

The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO), which represents the Turkish Cypriot business community in Northern Cyprus, is a solution partner of the European Commission not only in the implementation of the EU’s Green Line and Financial Aid Regulations but also in the promotion of the “Solution and EU” vision of Turkish Cypriots. KTTO, which strives to further the rights of the business community and the Turkish Cypriot people in the European arena, welcomes this initiative as a step in the right direction to remedy a significant democratic deficit which currently exists for Turkish Cypriots in the European Union.

Turkish Cypriots are the only EU citizens who are not represented by their own elected representatives in the European Parliament. The 6 seats allocated to the island of Cyprus are all currently occupied by Greek Cypriot Members of Parliament (MEPs). This presents us with the big irony where these MEPs who wrongly claim to represent the whole island, do their utmost to block any tangible efforts aimed at furthering the rights of Turkish Cypriots, let alone representing them in the European political debate.

The European Parliament continues to debate and take decisions on various matters which directly affect the future of the Turkish Cypriot people but without taking their opinions, needs and concerns into consideration. The issues that are of immediate importance to the Turkish Cypriot business community are regularly taken up at the EP Committees and the Plenary. However, as Turkish Cypriots are currently denied to express their views through their own representatives, these issues almost always fall victim to the negative votes and lobbying of the ones that wrongly claim to represent them. The Direct Trade Regulation proposed by the EU Commission to enable Turkish Cypriots to trade directly with the rest of the EU and taken up at the International Trade Committee, and the Report on the EU Financial Aid Regulation proposed for the economic development of Northern Cyprus recently dealt by the EP Budgetary Control Committee are but only few examples.

The Council of Europe, in contrast, has taken an important step in 2004 to ameliorate this democratic deficit by ensuring that Turkish Cypriots are represented at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) by two elected representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Parliament. The two representatives have the vital right to participate in and address all sessions of the Assembly albeit without voting rights.(cf Resolution 1376 (2004) on Cyprus, of 29 April 2004).

Dear Distinguished Member of the European Parliament,

The rejection of the UN-brokered Settlement Plan by Greek Cypriots in 2004 and the EU membership of a divided Cyprus have created an anomaly where only Greek Cypriots enjoy the rights and privileges of the EU while Turkish Cypriots who actually voted for a unified Cyprus in the EU are left out. 9 years after their positive vote to the UN Plan for a unified Cyprus and joint EU membership, Turkish Cypriot people still hope to reach a sustainable comprehensive settlement on the island based on the well-established UN parameters to unify Cyprus. Nevertheless, until that day, Turkish Cypriots should not be held hostage to the Cyprus problem and should not be deprived of enjoying their democratic rights as EU citizens. Continuing to exclude Turkish Cypriots from the European political debate will only serve to further distance and demoralize them, and to help strengthen the positions of those who are against the EU and a unified Cyprus.

Cyprus is a unique case for the EU and therefore requires unique solutions. It is high time that the European Parliament, the only directly elected body of the European Union and the one closest to its citizens, also demonstrated its political will to Turkish Cypriots by creating the necessary institutional mechanisms and legal framework to ensure the representation of Turkish Cypriots in the same way as the Council of Europe until a comprehensive settlement is reached on the island.

We count on your support for voting in favour of the amendments to ensure that Turkish Cypriots too can enjoy their basic democratic right of speaking for themselves through their own elected representatives in the European Parliament.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Günay Çerkez
President
Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce

For further information, please contact:
Mrs Lale Shener
Brussels Representative
Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO)
Phone: +32 2 280 22 80
E-mail: lshener@ktto.net

 

 

 

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Established in 1958, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) is an internationally-recognized organization, representing the Turkish Cypriot business community at home and abroad.  READ MORE

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