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By Keith Lloyd

Former Under Secretary to TRNC [Northern Cyprus] ex President Rauf Denktaş and now Chairman of the provisional board of the International Council for Northern Cyprus, Mr Ergün Olgun recently granted Property NC [of Northern Cyprus] an exclusive interview at his office in Lefkoşa during which he explained the aims and objectives of the recently launched lobby group.

When asked how the ICNC [International Council for Northern Cyprus] differed from other similar organisations such as Eupro and Embargoed! Mr Olgun explained, "We are pleased to work with both of the organisations you mention, working together we can achieve great things for the people of Northern Cyprus, but although our roles are complementary, our functions are different. Eupro are doing very well at countering the Greek Cypriots propaganda campaign against Northern Cyprus [property market] and they are mounting strong opposition to legal moves from the other side regarding property [apartments, land etc] issues; they are also at the forefront of the legal challenge to London's Mayor Ken Livingstone who has forced Transport for London to remove TRNC [Northern Cyprus] tourist advertising from hoardings and the sides of London Buses. The Embargoed! people in London are effectively calling the world's attention to the unfair embargoes being applied to the people of Northern Cyprus, especially with regard to human rights and their international isolation.

Mr Olgun went on to explain that ICNC [International Council for Northern Cyprus] has a broader set of objectives; as a non-governmental organisation, it plans to protect and promote the political, economic and social/cultural interests of the Turkish Cypriot people [of Northern Cyprus]. "We aim to put pressure on the international community to respect the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot People [of Northern Cyprus], its separate right to determine its own future, and, in exercise of these rights and in the face of the Greek Cypriot refusal to go into partnership based on absolute political equality, its right to statehood" he told Property Northern Cyprus. There are four levels were ICNC [International Council for Northern Cyprus] aims to have influence, according to Mr Olgun:

At the Political Level

ICNC [International Council for Northern Cyprus] will support by all means the political endeavours of the TRNC Government to achieve a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus issue that will be based on political equality and equal legitimacy of the Turkish Cypriot side [Northern Cyprus] based on the agreed principle of territorial separation (bi-zonality) and the continuation of the 1960 guarantee system.

At the Economic Level

To protect, promote, support and encourage by all lawful means the economic and cultural well-being and welfare of all the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [Northern Cyprus].

To seek and require the international community and in particular the European Union, the United States of America, and the United Nations to meet their commitments and fulfil their obligations to end the economic isolation of Northern Cyprus, including but not limited to the lifting of the ban on direct flights and the ending of all embargoes imposed upon trade, sports, travel and tourism between Northern Cyprus and the rest of the world.

To protect and promote the economic interests of the people of the TRNC [Northern Cyprus] in their relations with the international community through their political institutions and the press.

At the Legal Level

To resist by all lawful means any action by any person, court, institution, agency or government authority within or without the jurisdiction of the Greek Cypriot Administration which, directly or indirectly, is calculated to be prejudicial to the interests of the economy of Northern Cyprus.

To require the international community to recognise and promote the fulfilment of the inalienable rights of the people of the TRNC [Northern Cyprus].

To require the international community to require Greece and the Greek Cypriot side to compensate the Turkish Cypriot people [of Northern Cyprus] and its institutions who have suffered non- material and material loss as a result of the breach of their rights under the 1959-1960 International Treaties and 1960 Constitution of Cyprus, as well as the discrimination they have been subjected to.

At the Organisational Level

To develop an effective organisational structure for the ICNC: register it as a non-governmental organisation the basis of TRNC [Northern Cyprus] laws and to employ every means including litigation, lobbying and Public & Press Relations in order to realise the objectives of the Council.

To work in partnership with any other organisation which in the opinion of the ICNC [International Council for Northern Cyprus] shares its aims and can promote, defend or advance its specific interests and those of Northern Cyprus in general.

Mr Olgun, explained that the organisation has already submitted its Articles of Association and completed all the necessary formalities to become a recognised lobby group within the legal framework of the TRNC [Northern Cyprus]. "Although we are still in a slightly embryonic form, we have already begun our campaign by holding the 'Day of Shame' Rally in Nicosia on
15th July, the 31st anniversary of the failed attempt by Greece to invade Cyprus and to annexe it, by force to Greece. Our press release drew international media cover as did our letter to the United Nations Secretary General H.E. Mr Kofi Annan, which pointed out amongst other injustices that, 'Whilst the direct responsibility for the present position of the Turkish Cypriot people [of Northern Cyprus] lies with the repeated Greek Cypriot / Greek attempts to marginalise and subordinate us, the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular are guilty of supporting the wrongful actions of both Greece and Greek Cypriots.'

"We shall also be active later this month (July 25th & 26th 2005)" Mr Olgun said, "We shall be delivering a letter to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on the day he receives the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopolous at Downing Street, pointing out that although in office in the South, as a former active EOKA member he has no mandate to represent the people of Northern Cyprus within the European Union, we have our own democratically elected representative here in the Northern [Cyprus]; also we will remind Mr Blair that he is about to cohort with somebody who is alleged to have registered, through his law office in South Cyprus, several of the offshore companies named in the investigations of the International War Crimes Tribunal looking into the case of the former Yugoslav President Milosovic.

"It is illogical for the South side [Cyprus] to be granted full membership status of the EU, whilst the Northern [Cyprus] remains isolated by the international community" said Mr Olgun, "After all our people [of Northern Cyprus] voted by a clear majority for the Annan partnership plan in the 2004 referenda, whilst the South [Cyprus] side voted by a huge majority against it, yet they get the reward of EU membership and all its attendant benefits, whilst we in the TRNC [Northern Cyprus] continue to be deprived of our rights as a politically equal party, penalised, isolated and continue to have dur human rights violated. ICNC [of Northern Cyprus] will work hard on all fronts to right this wrong committed against all of our people." Ergün Olgun concluded.
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