The election of Ersin Tatar as President of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) last October resulted in a pivotal change in the Turkish side’s approach to the Cyprus Question: out goes any talk of a ‘federal’ solution to the divided island, replaced instead by a two-state policy.
Last month, the British Turkish Cypriot Association (BTCA) launched a new series of monthly webinars to discuss what this means to the future of Cyprus.
The inaugural debate on 26 January, which featured Andrew Rosindell MP, Michael Stephen QC, Professor Hüseyin Işıksal, and former MP Lee Scott, attracted an audience of over 100,000.
The BTCA has just announced the panellists for the second “What is the future for Cyprus?” online debate, which will take place on Wednesday 24 February.
Championing President Tatar’s new 2-state policy will be Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu. A lawyer by profession and an MP for the National Unity Party (UBP), Hasipoğlu is also a member of the new Turkish Cypriot negotiation team.
Renowned Cypriot barrister Alper Ali Riza and Cyprus Mail columnist will be flying the flag for federalists.
Constitutional law specialist Dr. Christian Heinze is the third lawyer on the panel. Dr Heinze brings his long years of experience of Cyprus legal affairs to the debate, having previously served as Assistant to the President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of the Republic of Cyprus in 1963, when the conflict first broke out.
Two senior British politicians will also have their say: former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Turkey.
Chairing the debate is former government minister Brooks Newmark, who will host the event in a ‘Question Time’ format, posing a series of topical questions to the panellists.
Topics of discussion for this webinar are likely to include the obstacles to international recognition for the TRNC, the first draft of the UK’s confederal plan for Cyprus, which is currently being road-tested, the impact of Turkey publicly backing a 2-state solution, and the expectations from the upcoming 5 +1 UN informal talks, which will be attended by the two Cypriot sides and three Guarantors Britain, Turkey and Greece, along with the UN.
The 90-minute debate is being screened on Zoom, where 500 pre-registered viewers can not only watch, but also ask questions to the panel.
Those in North Cyprus or Turksat viewers across Europe, including the UK, can also watch the debate live on television, with three channels screening the debate.
BRT 1 will have simultaneous translation for Turkish viewers. BRT 3 and Kanal T will broadcast the debate live in English.
The broadcast starts at 7pm UK time (9pm North Cyprus time).
BTCA’s webinars are supported by the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations UK (CTCA) and think tank the Circle Foundation.
Watch the 1st BTCA ‘What is the Future for Cyprus?’ debate, 26 January 2021
Second BTCA Cyprus debate details
Event: What is the Future for Cyprus?
Event Date: Wednesday 24 February 2021
Event time: 7pm GMT
Event Place: Webinar/online on Zoom. Prior registration is needed, and viewers need to download the Zoom app. Click here to register.
Broadcasters: BRT 1 (Turkish), BRT 3 (English), and Kanal T (English)
Main image, top, L-R: Alper Ali Riza QC, Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu MP, Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP