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15 June, 2024
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Erdogan calls on Greek Cypriots to face reality

Turkish president says no peace talks before establishing equal footing between divided island’s two sides


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Greek Cypriots to face reality, vowing during a Monday visit to north Cyprus that Turkish Cypriots will never be a minority on the island and calling for equal status before any talks take place.

Newly re-elected Erdogan traveled to the northern part of the divided island on Monday, his first overseas trip after defeating a serious challenge from opposition, in order to show support for the Turkish Cypriot administration amid renewed efforts by the Greek Cypriot side to involve the European Union in peace talks.

"We will continue to resolutely defend the rights and interests of Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," Erdogan said.

The Turkish president went on to accuse Greek Cypriots of “ignoring facts” on the island, saying the Turkish Cypriot position of demanding equal international status and sovereign equality were “rightful demands.”

'Turkish Cypriots have never been a minority and will never be. Those who ignore these facts continue their dreams of becoming the sole ruler of the island'

“Turkish Cypriots have never been a minority and will never be. Those who ignore these facts continue their dreams of becoming the sole ruler of the island,” he said.

Erdogan’s visit took place as Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides was getting ready to address EU lawmakers on Tuesday, with the Greek Cypriot leader calling for an EU envoy to revive peace negotiations.

Last week Christodoulides hinted at a phone call he had received about his initiative, adding it had raised prospects and vowing to “make the most of it so that talks can finally resume.”

But Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar have not spoken in favor of an EU role in peace talks.

Equal footing before talks resume

Tatar, who says Brussels is not an honest broker, has called for equal footing before new talks between the recognized Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish Cypriot north recognized only by Turkey.

Erdogan reiterated Tatar’s position, adding “the affirmation of equal international status and sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriots, which are their vested rights, is a sine qua non for us.”

"Despite the Turkish Cypriots’ efforts, more than half a century has been wasted due to the uncompromising and maximalist approaches of the Greek side," Erdogan argued.

"No one can put up with losing another 50 years,” Erdogan said.

Nicosia wants EU role based on UN path

Christodoulides, who says he wants to break the deadlock and achieve an immediate resumption of negotiations, has clarified in public statements that Nicosia still wanted a formula for talks “within the agreed UN framework.”

But UN-led talks have failed for half a century, while political pundits have pointed to serious challenges for Nicosia as it tries to revive the peace process through Brussels.

Christodoulides gathers energy to woo EU lawmakers

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Christodoulides’ speech in Strasbourg will touch on “multiple challenges faced by the EU” such as migration, the environmental crisis, and energy, adding that those “are subjects in which the Republic of Cyprus aspires to have a role and a voice, operating as a reliable partner among the states in the region."

Greek Cypriots have been scrambling to organize a number of energy projects for the Republic of Cyprus, including the possibility of using offshore natural gas to generate electricity, with a revived aproach towards companies currenly moving forward in the south.

But some energy companies have shown reluctance in the divided island’s quest for hydrocarbons, while Turkish Cypriots have also pursued deals with Ankara amid disputes between the two sides.

Erdogan on Monday reassured Tatar that transporting electricity from Turkey to north Cyprus through cables “undoubtedly will be our most important step”

“With that, there will be no such problem as a power cut from then on in the TRNC," Erdogan declared.

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  Greek  |  Turkish  |  Cypriot  |  Erdogan  |  EU  |  electricity  |  energy  |  peace talks  |  Cyprus Problem  |  Christodoulides

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