We are allergic to the word 'minority'.
(Osman Ertug, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defence, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 21 May 2001)
The European Union could not indefinitely ignore the aspirations of the majority of the population to be an EU member.
(Hans Van Den Broek, EU External Affairs Commissioner, 16 March 1996)
It is not surprising that most Turkish Cypriots dislike the use of the word 'minority' when it is used in a political context vis-à-vis the Greek Cypriot community. They are troubled that Greek Cypriots and the bulk of the international community view Cypriot society and possible solutions of the Cyprus problem in majority-minority terms. Yet even so, the fact is that Turkish Cypriots have governed themselves in their self-declared state in northern Cyprus for three decades. Established in 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has functioned like many states in the international community: its government maintains effective control over its territory and provides a myriad of services to its population. Its leadership can boast a mandate achieved through free elections. Nevertheless, in spite of its seeming endurance and sponsorship by such a powerful regional state as Turkey, the TRNC has been shunned by most of the international community.
As troublesome as this has been to the TRNC leadership, generous Turkish support and the expectation of greater international acceptance (and perhaps even recognition) have sustained the TRNC leaders' hopes of better prospects in the future: Turkish Cypriot leadership has anticipated that, with the passage of time, the international community would acknowledge the 'facts on the ground', that is the hardening partition and the eventual separation of the Mediterranean island into two states. Due to the regional dimensions of the stalemate, however, there has been vigorous rejection of this kind of realism in favour of a policy of internationalizing the Cyprus Question. This is reflected by the presence of the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on