Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad - Tazeen Akhtar - Mr. Ali Santel is the new Ambassador of Turkish Republic of North Cyprus to Pakistan. He has vast experience in international relations as he was previously a businessman doing business with different countries. Thus he had opportunities to meet different people from a common man to high ups in those countries. When TRNC Government asked him to serve his country as their representative to the world, it was a turning point in his life. Now he had to work for his nation that is facing enormous challenges at the hands of Greek Cypriot Government.

Mr. Ali Santel did not take long to come to the decision and said “YES” to his Government. He wrapped up his business for which he had worked very hard and moved to Kyrgyzstan , that was his first task to serve his country. He stayed there for four years from 2010 to 2014. This year Mr. Mustfa Evran completed his tenure in Pakistan. Mr. Ali Santel replaced him in August 2014.

This is his second posting as Ambassador of TRNC. He is confidant and enthusiastic to bring more improvement  in already cordial and warm relations between TRNC and Pakistan. We approached him two days earlier than their National Day and had a little talk for our readers. Here are a few important points of this discussion.

We asked how was the experience of being a diplomat from a businessman ? Mr. Ali Santel said that the ministry of external affairs decided to take some envoys from private sector to make their voice in the world more vocal and efficient for the sake of economic and trade  cooperation. They called me and i had no option except giving in because it was a national service.

“ No doubt it is not only a national service but it is an honor for me as well because you are the highest official of your country in the world”. Mr. Ali Santel said.

On a question about his major performances in Kyrgyzstan, Ali Santel said “ Education sector was my focus. TRNC has many world high standard universities. I worked on the enhancement of cooperation in Education Sector. We offered scholarships including red diploma that is highest in TRNC.”

Regarding Pakistan , The ambassador said that commercial cooperation has a huge potential between Pakistan and TRNC.Our small industry and tourism have attractions for Pakistani business community. They can start smart businesses there. Bilateral trade is very little at this time and it includes minor things like toys. TRNC can offer value added item as watches and electronics. We produce quality dairy products, especially grilled cheese. Pakistani businessmen can see the opportunities for textile in our country. We will overcome the shortage of water sooner with the project of pipeline from Turkey . It will provide 70 million cubic feet water to TRNC.

Mr. Ali Santel said that he is in contact with major chambers of commerce of Pakistan. The number of businessmen visiting TRNC is not satisfactory. I am planning to visit Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi chambers of commerce in coming days. Bilateral trade is very less than it can be and we have more venues to explore for the betterment of economic cooperation. Pakistani businessmen can have opportunities in our hotel industry also . We have many world class five star hotels with all facilities.

Secondly, TRNC is very keen to further develop educational interactions. We are looking for serious efforts to ink agreements with Pakistani universities for exchange of students. We received more visa applications from students as compared to other people. So we see great potential in this sector. Civil Aviation is a major interest for Pakistani student in TRNC.

When asked about how are you feeling in Pakistan, as a perceptions prevails in the west that Pakistan is not safe, Mr. Ali Santel replied “ I am here since August and I have not felt me unsafe till now. And that is not for I have diplomatic security or other protocol. It is because there is no danger.”

Mr. Ali Santel likes Islamabad city. He said that “ The capital city is well planned and even in Europe we can not find such planned cities. At the same time , He said that some areas needs attention from CDA. Load shedding is a problem. Generators are on for more than 10 hours a day. This situation is not good to attract the investor. Prime Minister Nawaz is on foreign tour to gather support in this regard. I wish best for solving this problem soon.”

To a question that what change can he bring as compared to his predecessor while working in Pakistan, Mr Ali Santel said “ We have two embassies in the whole world. One is in Turkey and the second in Pakistan. It is big honor for us. Working with Pakistan officials is very easy. We enjoy very cordial relations with Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry. We can do many things together. I am proud of being a representative of my nation to Pakistan. I will work on furthering already existing good relations and more operations will be sought .For that purpose we will extend our embassy. More staff will be hired.

When asked about what support TRNC is extended from Muslim world in case of recognition as a state and doing business with, His Excellency said that “ We have 23 international offices in the world including four in Turkey. Support from Muslim world is not according to our hopes and expectations. Most of them express full support in closed doors but act differently in open. Only one country stands with us undauntedly and that is Pakistan. We have full diplomatic status here since twenty years. Pakistan does what says. No fear , no apprehensions. And Pakistan works with us happily.

“ TRNC-Pakistan relations are very deep. Some Western countries are bent upon maligning our warm relations. Whenever we intend to do something, they try to stop it but they become very funny in their plannings. Our people get satisfaction from the fact that they are not alone. Pakistan is standing with them. This sense of satisfaction should continue and remain sustained, we are sure of that.

To some questions about problems with Greek Cypriots regarding unification efforts, sovereignty and oil resources in the sea, TRNC envoy said that “ We always expressed our interest for unification but it is clear that this will be on equal basis. We demand fair solution to the problems with Greeks. TRNC people do not want to go under Greeks control. We are ready for dialogue but with those who understand us.

As long as , oil resource ownership is concerned, the point to understand is that , Turkish Cypriots have equal sovereignty over the land and the resources according to the very first agreement between the two nations of the island. When Cyprus Republic was formed in 1960, it was agreed upon by Greeks that Turkish people have equal sovereignty over the land and the resources besides Government officials and ministries etc. Then they violated the agreement and tried to occupy the whole island and deprive the Turks of their rights. Turks resisted but Greeks unleashed a rein of terror and torture on them. Greeks cornered the Turks to narrow enclaves. Attacked 103 villages of Turks. Dispatched 25 ,000 troops to suppress them. The Greeks were in majority and in power. So they got full control of the island, so the world . politically , continued to deal with Greeks. That is why they are awarding licenses to the exploration companies.

But the world must understand that Turk Cypriots are the equal stakeholders there. Greeks can not issue licenses to anyone without the consent of Turkish Republic.

14 Nov 2014