In a statement certain to be ignored, Greece has urged Turkey to comply with international law and to withdraw its occupying forces from Cyprus, where they have had a presence since seizing the territory in 1974.
In a statement on Nov. 15, marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – a name and state only Turkey recognizes in the world – the Greek Foreign Ministry – at the same time Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is seeking closer ties and business dealings – urged Ankara to review its policy on Cyprus and comply with symbolic, non-binding United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the divided island.
“The international community, with the exception of Turkey, respects the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and confirms with every opportunity that the proclamation of the breakaway state is legally invalid,” the statement said.
The ministry said Athens will continue efforts for a mutually accepted peace settlement but didn’t say how it would do that since decades of talking have made no progress. “Greece will never accept the precedent of Turkish invasion and occupation,” the statement said, although Cypriot governments have negotiated on and off with Turkey on a deal that might do that in return for other concessions.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the east Mediterranean island with Greece. Ankara keeps some 30,000 troops in a Turkish Cypriot enclave that only it recognizes. Turkish Cypriots created their own breakaway state on Nov. 15, 1983 but are in political isolation from the rest of the world.