Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the international community to stop imposing sanctions on northern Cyprus, saying Ankara’s unheeded calls for cooperation showed “who supports provocation and conflict and who supports peace and stability” in the region.
In his address before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday in New York City, Erdogan touched on many hot button issues including tensions between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean as well as the ongoing Cyprus Problem in the eastern Mediterranean.
Erdogan, as stated through an interpreter, expressed the view that in Cyprus “there are two states and two different nations, and this should be accepted by all.”
He also called on the international community “to stop imposing sanctions upon the Turkish Cypriots and to eliminate all forms of embargo” and to “stop this tyranny once and for all.”
'It is key for a solution of the problems on the island of Cyprus to accept that Turkish Cypriots have equal and sovereign rights and that their international status to be accepted'
"It is key for a solution of the problems on the island of Cyprus to accept that Turkish Cypriots have equal and sovereign rights and that their international status to be accepted,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish president also made references to Ankara’s efforts to cooperate with actors in the region regarding natural resources, saying “we believe that the eastern Mediterranean conference that we have recommended previously will serve this very purpose.”
“Our interlocutors unfortunately have never taken a positive step forward in order to respond to this call, and this clearly shows who supports provocation and conflict and who supports peace and stability,” Erdogan said.
Turkey has been accusing Greece and the Republic of Cyprus of trying to keep Ankara out of energy conversations, while Athens and Nicosia maintain that regional efforts exclude no country that adheres to the rule of law.
The Turkish leader also went on to propose that accepting Turkish Cypriots have “equal and sovereign rights” and that their international status should be accepted would be “key for a solution of the problems on the island of Cyprus.”
“We want to reach a settlement once and for all in a fair, permanent, and a just and sustainable way, and we have always been working together with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in order for that to be possible,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan also warned that other countries “that are going after adventures in our region” were “no equivalent to us at all.”
The Turkish president also accused EU member Greece of “pushing back refugees in the Aegean Sea in a very inhumane fashion” as well as “neglecting legal responsibilities” towards a Turkish minority of Muslim descent living in the Hellenic Republic, adding that Ankara was asking Brussels to “be more considerate instead of turning a blind eye towards these violations.”
Direct flight connection
The speech came on the same day that Turkish newspaper Milliyet made headlines with a story about Turkish Cypriots seeking direct international flights from Russia to Ercan airport.
On his flight on the way to New York Erdogan declined to comment on the issue when asked by a reporter whether there were direct talks with Moscow, with the Turkish leader remarking instead that Ankara was engaging with everyone about opening up access to the divided island’s north.
Both Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Russian officials in Cyprus said they were not aware of any talks, with Moscow reiterating the position that their stance on the Cyprus Problem remained unchanged.
Media speculation suggested efforts in the north to have a Russian tour operator bring charter flights to Ercan airport were in the works while local media said Turkish Cypriots have also been thinking about starting their own airline company to fly in tourists directly.