Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s call for a two-state solution on Cyprus during the first day of his visit to the occupied north of the island.
Erdogan, whose visit to the to the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) coincides with the 47th anniversary of the invasion, told a special session of the breakaway northern region’s Parliament that he firmly rejected international efforts to reunify the island.
“On this island, there are two states and two peoples,” Erdogan said, in comments carried live on television in Turkey.
“We do not, and cannot make, any concession on that,” he said, adding that past experiences “taught everyone clearly that Greek Cypriots have no intention of establishing a partnership state” comprised of two equal halves.
Calling the Cyprus problem a “major national issue”, Erdogan spoke of the “epic fight” of Turkish soldiers in 1974.
“Those who believe they can wipe out the Turkish Cypriots, based on the powers they depend on, found the iron-willed Turkish Cypriot people before them,” he said.
Commenting on the status of talks on the Cyprus issue, Erdogan noted that the Turkish side “would not wait another 50 years. The Turk keeps his word, but the Greek does not. It is not possible to believe then any longer, and lose another 50 years.”
“No matter how this climate of brotherhood [between Turkey and the north of Cyprus] has annoyed some in America, we shall walk this path decisively,” he added, in an apparent dig at the Biden administration.
Continuing, Erdogan said: “We know well who is the invader on the island … Eoka and those adhering to this mentality never regarded Turkish Cypriots as their equals. There is nothing that has not been discussed at the negotiations. The futile dreams of the Greek Cypriot side, who continue to see Turkish Cypriots as a minority, have brought about a a deadlock.”
Erdogan vows to build new ‘presidential residence’ in occupied Cyprus
In his speech, Erdogan announced the construction of a new ‘presidential residence’ and ‘parliament’ building for the north, noting that “the Turkish Cypriot people do not have what they deserve.”
On Tuesday, Erdogan is expected to review some of the thousands of Turkish troops in the breakaway north in the abandoned beach resort of Varosha, which the 1974 invasion emptied of its Greek Cypriot inhabitants.
Recently, Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot authorities have stepped up their preparations to open up parts of Varosha in violation of UN resolutions.
Photographic and video evidence obtained by the Cyprus News Agency shows that work on the new part of Chrysi Akti (Golden Coast) Beach, which extends to the Venus Hotel and will be accessible to the public, is almost complete.
European Union warns Erdogan on Cyprus
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned Turkey’s leader not to jeopardize a push for better ties with the bloc by inflaming tensions.
“This is a very sensitive topic for us. And we are very clear that we will of course observe how this visit will go and that we will never, ever accept as a European Union a two-state solution,” von der Leyen told the press after an EU summit in Brussels.
“These clear messages have been sent. I said it personally to the president. So it’s up to him now to set a positive signal.”
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged against “a negative spiral” in Cyprus.
“We are concerned about developments on the ground in Varosha,” he said. He recalled that the EU, through the European Commission and European Council presidents, has repeatedly reaffirmed the status of Varosha “and called for the Turkish authority, not to create a situation that could be against the United Nations decisions”.