Erdogan says he favours division of Cyprus into two states

Published November 16, 2020
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience as he attends a ceremony marking  the 37th anniversary of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) .
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience as he attends a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) .

NICOSIA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he favours a permanent division of Cyprus into two states, during a visit to the breakaway Turkish-held north decried as a “provocation” by the internationally recognised Greek-speaking south.

The comments marked a further setback to hopes for an eventual reunification of the Mediterranean island which is split between EU member the Republic of Cyprus, which controls the island’s southern two-thirds, and the north occupied by Turkey since 1974.

“There are two peoples and two separate states in Cyprus,” said Erdogan.

“There must be talks for a solution on the basis of two separate states.” During his visit, Turkish jets left vapour trails in the sky in the shape of the star and crescent of the Turkish flag — mirroring a huge flag painted decades ago on a rocky mountainside in the north.

Erdogan’s visit to the Turkish-held statelet recognised only by Ankara comes amid heightened tensions on the island and in the Eastern Mediterranean and was condemned as a “provocation without precedent” by the Republic of Cyprus.

His trip marked the 37th anniversary of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) where an estimated 30,000 Turkish troops are stationed.

The Turkish president was later to attend a “picnic” in the disputed beachfront area of Varosha along the UN buffer zone that has divided the island since Turkey’s invasion.

Varosha — once the playground of celebrities and dubbed a “Jewel of the Mediterranean” — has since been a fenced off ghost town, where former luxury hotels and restaurants have fallen into disrepair and overgrown by weeds.

Turkish troops partially reopened the seafront of Varosha on Oct 8, sparking international criticism.

The last UN-sponsored peace talks, based on a reunification of the island, failed in 2017.

An eventual reunification has looked more remote since an Erdogan-backed Turkish nationalist, Ersin Tatar, was elected leader of the north last month.

Unlike his predecessor, Mustafa Akinci, who advocated reunification in the form of a federal state, Tatar also favours a two-state solution. The 1974 Turkish invasion was launched in response to an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia designed to unify Cyprus with Greece, and was followed on November 15, 1983 by the declaration of the TRNC.

Erdogan insisted that “the only victims in the Cyprus issue are the Turkish Cypriots whose rights and existence have been ignored for years”.

His visit comes as Turkey has openly sparred with neighbours Greece and Cyprus over maritime territories believed to hold vast gas deposits. The Turkish leader stressed that “we will continue our seismic research and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean until a fair agreement can be reached”. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades condemned Erdogan’s visit, as well as what he called the historical “secessionist act of the declaration of the illegal regime” in the north.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2020

Opinion

Avoid Modi’s nationalist turf
Updated 19 Oct 2021

Avoid Modi’s nationalist turf

It remains the only party with a presence in every Indian state and makes it best equipped to effect the required radical change.
The lamp of guidance
Updated 19 Oct 2021

The lamp of guidance

Those seeking to learn from his example must follow the moral precepts he gave otherwise it is half-hearted devotion at most.

Editorial

Opposition’s chance?
Updated 19 Oct 2021

Opposition’s chance?

What the opposition can do is take advantage of the cleavage between PTI and the establishment, perhaps widen it and leverage it.
19 Oct 2021

Evading tax laws

MERELY 2.5m or 35pc of the 7.2m total registered taxpayers or NTN holders have filed their returns for tax year ...
19 Oct 2021

KCR delays

AS political and bureaucratic stakeholders drag their feet over reviving the Karachi Circular Railway, residents of...
Financial troubles
Updated 18 Oct 2021

Financial troubles

Growing trade gap is fuelling the current account deficit and bringing the already meagre foreign exchange reserves under stress.
18 Oct 2021

Complaint portal

IN a ruling on Thursday, the Mingora bench of the Peshawar High Court held that the Prime Minister’s Performance...
18 Oct 2021

Capital’s master plan

IT is encouraging that on Thursday, the restructured commission formed by the federal cabinet to revise ...