Dear [Budapest Times correspondent]

… The so-called ‘’trnc’’ is an illegal-secessionist entity, whose coming into being (on 15 November 1983) was condemned by the UNSC, via its Resolution 541 (18.11.83), which called it legally invalid.
The same was done a bit later on, again by the UNSC, via its Resolution 550 (11.5.84), which even labelled the area occupied by the Turkish troops as occupied territory.
Both Resolutions called on all the UN members not to recognize or assist in any way the illegal-secessionist entity.
I take it that you must be aware of all these developments, which in any way are not minor details. After all, there was an invasion of Cyprus by Turkey 44 years ago, and a military occupation of 37% of its territory (which continues unabated), of which I am pretty sure you are fully aware.
On our part, there is and cannot be any compromise on national sovereignty.
This said, I demand that you delete any reference to the so-called ‘’trnc,’’ for the reasons already expatiated upon before.
One last thing. Your remark (during the Latvian Ambassador’s reception last year) about neutrality (in the case of Cyprus, that is) was very strange, not to say bizarre. And you visited Cyprus after all, as a guest last year.
I wonder, with all due respect dear Sir, what your trip to my country has taught you. Surely, you must know and be aware of forcible partition. After all, other countries have already experienced it, like Korea (in 1945), South Asia (in 1947) and Palestine (again, in 1947).
Finally, I hate to think, let alone believe, that the so-called ‘’Office of the ‘’trnc’’ here in Budapest has approached you, let alone convinced you, to be part of this endeavor. If the answer is in the affirmative, allow me to question your integrity and credibility.

Best regards,
Xxxxxxx (name withheld by The Budapest Times)
Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus


The Budapest Times replied on January 19, 2018:

Dear Mr Xxxxxxx

I do regard myself as neutral and prepared to listen to both sides, whatever the issue. I do not think that having been a guest of the Republic of Cyprus, grateful as I am, should tie me to any particular viewpoint.
There is a similar problem whenever we give publicity to Taiwan, but we like to give them a voice
I hope that readers can decide for themselves who may be "right" or "wrong".
Should you have anything you wish to publicise, particularly locally, we are of course willing to help.

Sincerely
[Budapest Times correspondent]


The ambassador sent a second email on January 22, 2018:

Dear [Budapest Times correspondent]

Good morning to you and thank you for your reply. Even though it is customary to address Chiefs of Foreign Diplomatic Missions as Ambassadors, I always cherish modesty as being one (sic) the virtues worth preserving.
Your viewpoint and raison d’etre, bizarre as they are, betray stranger deficiencies on your part.
We in Cyprus (at least not I) do not encourage people to visit our country, so that we can brainwash them. That, dear Sir, I guarantee you, we (and certainly I, myself) do not do.
I can tell you straight away what kinds of governments employ these kinds of practices, ie., patronage, especially in the academia. Turkey happens to be one of them, especially with scholars of the Ottoman Empire. Anybody who dares criticize the government in Ankara finds himself without access to the Ottoman Archives. Call it blackmail, if you wish. This is no fiction, is the truth. I know it from experience, while being a student in the US.
Besides, as a scholar (I am a professional historian, by the way, specializing in USA-Asia relations, the Middle East and yes, the history of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey), I am always careful not to mix diplomacy with history (and an objective version, at that).
On your part, to demand that an the (sic) Embassy of the Republic, an independent country member of the UN and other international organizations, and the only internationally-recognized government in Cyprus, which for the past 44 years has been the victim of foreign armed aggression and continuous military occupation, will engage in a dialogue with the illegal-secessionist entity (which owns its existence to the Turkish troops of occupation), with you sitting as the disinterested party (in the name of neutrality), is abominable to say the least. Adding insult to injury, to put it more forcefully.
I believe I do not have to elaborate and I take it you are able to distinguish between the two.
Neutrality is understandable, and desirable, if we deal with sports rivalry, especially in football, ie., Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Partisan vs Red Star Belgrade, Flamingo vs Fluminese in Brazil, Boca Juniors vs River Plate in Buenos Aires, Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos in Greece, even Apoel vs Omomoia in Nicosia, or Fener Bahce Vs Galatasaray or Besiktas in Turkey.
Should the African states have kept their mouth shut and not say anything, when the aparhaid (sic) regime of South Africa was invited to participate in the Olympics, in the name of neutrality (remember, never mix sports and politics)?
Should John Carlos and Tommy Smith have shut up entirely and not have said anything against racism during the Mexico City Olympics in 1968? Or Bill Russell, the NBA star, with the Boston Celtics in the 1960’s?
The list is endless. I am sorry to bring the bad news to you, but in cases like these (as of course in the case of my country), neutrality does not apply. Objectivity yes (the noble dream, in my profession), and a scholarly one at that, based of course on scientific and impartial criteria. That, I welcome, and in fact I encourage, anytime, anyplace, regardless of the origins.
What has been going on in Cyprus, however, much to your chagrin cannot be explained in terms of neutrality. Surely, you are smart enough to know the difference between the two.
Not even a conflict between two communities (of different ethnic origin, language religion, political and ideological beliefs), as these guys in Ankara try very hard to portray it. That its origins date back to 1570, the year of the Ottoman occupation, seems not to have bothered anybody.
As regards Taiwan, the best reply was given (sic) long time ago, during the CBS Program 60 Minutes: ‘’If, as a result of Watergate, Nixon were to go to Panama, and declare the government of the US being there, would the rest of the international community recognize it?’’
Just because the KMT and Chiang Kai-shek lost the civil war in 1949, does not mean that the rest of the world had to recognize it, because it was the legal government. Much would have been averted, even the Vietnam tragedy, because of this.
Haven’t you heard of one China policy, and UNGA Resolution 2758 of 24th October 1971? What you are advocating is the impression that two Chinas exist. And please, do not refer to the Korean Peninsula, just to justify 2 states: the partition of early August 1945 is the immediate reply, which makes more imperative than ever before the reunification and the reconciliation of the Korean people.
I do not have to continue. This, is I believe, the last time I communicate with you, since there is no point on my part to indulge in the teaching of history. Which, by the way, is what you should do: plunge deeply into the study of history (widely and in depth), so that nobody (including myself) can either deceive or mislead you.
On the other hand, everybody should be held accountable for their actions. The same applies to you, Sir. Ignorance is no excuse.
Without exaggeration, I regard you persona non grata, based on your actions, which to me are done mala fide.
Based on all the above, I do not advise you even to contemplate visiting Cyprus (with the objective of vising the occupied part), so that you can confirm to yourself your so-called neutrality. The CY Authorities have been informed of your actions.
This is not a threat, since I am not in the habit of threatening people. Just a piece of friendly advice.

Sincerely yours,
Xxxxxxx
Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus


Our reply, January 24, 2018:

Dear Xxxxxxx

Please note that I was invited to southern Cyprus to promote the European Capital of Culture, and The Budapest Times subsequently printed three articles (four on the website) that would have encouraged visitors, free of politics.
The Representative Office in Budapest invited The Budapest Times to their function and we accepted. I gave an accurate report of the event, without bias. Anyone disagreeing with their viewpoint is free to write a Letter to the Editor.
Should I ever wish to visit Cyprus in future, it is my unhindered right to do so, having in no way committed any wrong to disqualify myself.

Sincerely
[Budapest Times correspondent]


At the function on November 15, 2018, Ms Selda Çimen, the Chief of Mission at the North Cyprus Turkish Representative Office in Budapest, told guests: “We, the Turkish Cypriot people, have struggled for many years to survive, to exist, to preserve our identity, freedom and sovereignty and to live peacefully and safely within a democracy. The proclamation of our state on 15 November 1983 is the outcome of this struggle.

"Here, I would like to specially thank the Republic of Turkey and the people of Turkey who have always been on our side to provide unconditional support in our struggle for independence and freedom, and to achieve democratic and humanitarian rights in a safe and secure environment."

The Budapest Times comments: Little seems to have changed in the political impasse on the divided island between November 15, 2017 (or indeed since 1983) and November 15, 2018.

# Ms Simen and her Budapest office colleague Hakan Aksoy


The Budapest Times website, November 2017: http://www.budapesttimes.hu/2017/11/21/turkish-cypriots-celebrate

The Budapest Times subsequently visited the "forbidden" land in July 2018, and without incident: http://www.budapesttimes.hu/2018/07/26/fearlessly-forbidden-land


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