It seems to me, Cyprus is now facing entirely new problems. Recently, on the 24th of April, the Cypriots voted on the Annan Plan. It was accepted by one side and rejected by the other. Under the circumstances as a Turkish Cypriot who has spent the last 22 years in Turkey and in light of the concerns and thoughts that I express below, I hereby declare my candidacy for the European Parliament and kindly ask for your support:
I want to contribute in building a bridge of peace between Turkey and Greek Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as well as Turkey and Greece. This has been what oriented my past academic practice, and I now wish to dedicate that experience and research to the same end. As part of my academic work I'm equally entitled to put forward an alternative to the Annan Plan as those who voted for a "Yes" and a "No".
All the attempts at resolving the Cyprus Question to this day were in relation to the balance of power among the Great Powers. It has made the possibility of resolving the issue more complicated and unlikely, and ignored the concerns and needs of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. For this reason I want the removal of the British Bases, first and foremost and all other foreign armies. In short, the problems created by the United States and Britain in Iraq and elsewhere in the region are also projected onto our own country. Any "solution" imposed by imperialist powers is likely to bring new pains to the Island. We have bitter experience of this in our recent history. I would like to raise another issue, the other face of Europe, an issue that has hardly been discussed. Much of the ongoing debate is only about the positive face of Europe. However, there is the other face of Europe, the negative face of racism, wars, profit and colonial legacy. This negative face no one wants to discuss. I want to use the opportunity of my candidacy to raise the issue of the "two faces of Europe". In the North of Cyprus an illusion exist of a crystal paradise regarding the European Union. The Elections offer me the opportunity to show the defects of this crystal paradise.
As the only Turkish Cypriot candidate, my candidacy is important in light of the fact that these are the first ever mixed elections in Cyprus. It's a greater and more significant test for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots than the Annan Plan. It is important to point out that the Greek Cypriot government has devalued these mixed elections by imposing the deadline of 2 April 2004 for voter registration. The Annan Plan has come onto the agenda as a matter of Yes or No and has turned into a blind quarrel. This is bound to have negative as well as positive consequences for the future of Cyprus. I decided to become a candidate because I believe that the road to definite and everlasting peace passes through the hearts of ordinary people. All other candidates are Greek Cypriots who represent and promise to honour pledges to Greek Cypriots. My intention is not to fill one of the two seats accorded to the Turkish Cypriots in the Plan. I want my candidacy to become a symbol for a people standing up and demanding a United Cyprus, one demilitarised and free of foreign bases. I want this symbolic attempt to contribute to the elimination of mutual distrust among our people. I hope that ten years from now, hardly anyone would mention or remember the Annan Plan but remember my attempt as an important act that contributed to the efforts of creating a new Cyprus and a new movement. I already have moral, intellectual and the active support of many Greek and Turkish Cypriot friends, which shows the importance of this new movement.
Mehmet Hasan (Hasgüler)
21 May 2004