Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the northern region of Cyprus which his military currently occupies illegally and called for an equal “two-state” solution on the island, drawing a rebuke from the internationally recognised government of the Mediterranean island nation.
Turkey is the only nation in the world that recognizes northern Cyprus as an independent entity. The United States, the European Union and the United Nations recognizes northern Cyprus as territory of the Republic of Cyprus under Turkish military occupation.
Erdogan warned that Turkey would no longer tolerate what he called “diplomacy games” in an international dispute over rights to offshore resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Cyprus has been split along ethnic lines since a Turkish invasion in 1974.
“Our priority is to ensure a fair, lasting and sustainable solution” in Cyprus that ensures Turkish Cypriots have security and legal rights, Erdogan told an audience after his arrival.
“A two-state solution must be negotiated on the basis of sovereign equality,” he added.
United Nations-mediated reunification negotiations on Cyprus broke down in 2017 in Crans Montana, Switzerland. As in the case of the unsuccessful and ill conceived Annan Plan in 2004, Turkey would not commit to renouncing rights of intervention on Cyprus or fully removing its occupation troops. UN Security Council Resolutions call for the reunification of Cyprus on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, a position that is consistently echoed by the United States.
Erdogan was visiting the island after Ersin Tatar, who also supports a two-state solution, won last month’s election as the Turkish community’s leader. Tatar’s predecessor Mustafa Akıncı, had backed reunification of the island.
The legally-recognized government of Cyprus— and EU member nation— called Erdogan’s visit “provocative and illegal”.
“Ankara has absolutely no respect for international law, European principles and values, and its obligations towards the EU,” the Cypriot presidency said in a statement.
The Erdogan visit to northern Cyprus and his subsequent statements drew the immediate rebuke from Endy Zemenides, executive director of the Chicago-based Hellenic American Leadership Council, who expects an “immediate rebuke” from global leaders.
“Erdogan has once again shown who he really is. Turkey was never really interested in a just and workable solution in Cyprus, but one that gave Ankara sway over the entire island and back door influence into the European Union,” Zemenides said in exclusive comments to The Pappas Post.
“That is why Turkey has in every negotiation insisted on poison pills like rights of guarantee and a drawn out withdrawal of occupation troops. Now that fewer and fewer international players are willing to sacrifice Cyprus for the sake of such an unreliable ‘ally’ which is slowly turning into a rogue state, Erdogan and his puppet Tatar reveal their true end game. This declaration should be roundly condemned and should lead to consequences for Turkey’s continued intransigence and provocations,” he concluded.
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