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Erdogan: All Cyprus Could Have Been Turkish

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Erdogan claimed that Turkish Cypriots were facing the threat of genocide. Credit: Presidency of Turkey

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that if Turkish forces had advanced further south in 1974, Cyprus would be fully Turkish now.

In a speech he delivered to Turkish military personnel at a dinner he defended the Turkish invasion of Cyprus calling it a “peace operation” and said that Turkish Cypriots were facing the threat of genocide.

“Half a century ago, the Turkish Cypriots came back from the brink of genocide. In the Peace Operation of 1974, 498 of our soldiers from all corners of the country, officers, non-commissioned officers and civilians, were martyred.

“Despite all the pressures, if it were not for Turkey’s intervention, neither the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus nor the Turkish Cypriots would exist today.

“In fact, perhaps if we had pushed south, and I say this as a child of the present, there would be no more south and north and Cyprus would be completely ours,” Erdogan said.

Wishing success to soldiers, who carry out their duties at the cost of their lives for the state’s permanence and the nation’s security, Erdogan stressed that Turkey must have a powerful defense.

“It is an obligation, rather than a preference, for us to have a powerful military. We are a country, nation, an army that should always maintain a maximum level of deterrence. Only our own strength, only the means and capabilities that we ourselves develop can protect us, the Turkish nation, against our enemies.”

He added: “We know from our bitter recent experiences that when we are on our own, neither the alliances we are a member of nor the international organizations whose duty is to protect the global peace are of any use. That is why we constantly say ‘domestic and national defense industry’ and work for a ‘fully independent Türkiye in every area’.”

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus and President Biden has been urged to mark the occasion by inviting the Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides to the White House.

In January the Congressional Hellenic Caucus sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to take meaningful actions to strengthen the U.S.-Cyprus relationship.

The letter acknowledges President Biden’s understanding and unwavering support for the reunification of Cyprus.

It highlights Turkey’s invasion in 1974 and the ongoing occupation. Furthermore, it proposes inviting Christodoulides to the White House, convening a 3+1 Foreign Ministerial meeting, expediting Cyprus’ inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program, and extending the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus beyond 2024.

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