Erdogan buries hopes of détente

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set in stone the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side’s stance for a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem during his visit to the occupied north.

Erdogan was in the north on a flash visit Thursday to celebrate the 1974 invasion, which divided the island and officially opened the new Ercan (Tymbou) airport terminal and a new runway.

During his speech at the airport’s opening, Erdogan buried hopes of resuming negotiations based on a UN-accepted bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

He claimed: “It is now impossible to enter into a new negotiation process without recognising the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriots”.

“I would like to convey to you the greetings and love of all 85,000,000 brothers and sisters in Turkey”.

Throughout his speech, Turkey’s President made references to Bulent Ecevit and Nejmetin Erbakan, the prime minister and vice president of the Turkish government during the invasion, and the historical leader of the Turkish nationalist movement of Cypriot origin, Alparslan Turkes.

Erdogan repeated calls to the international community he had made a few months back while addressing the United Nations Summit.

He told the international community to stop turning their back on the “reality on the island”.

Turkey’s President repeated the Turkish narrative that the invasion “brought peace, stability, democracy and tranquillity to the island.

“The Turkish Cypriots, whom they (Greek Cypriots) wanted to destroy, can live today safely under the shade of their own flag”.

He referred to the period of 1960 to 1974, during which “Turkish Cypriot blood was spilt, as a result of massacres that were carried out” by “those who swore not to leave a single Turkish Cypriot alive on the island”.

Erdogan invoked the rights under the guarantor agreements to argue that “our heroic Turkish soldiers set foot on the island, once again showing the world that the Turkish Cypriot people were never alone and that the Turkish nation could never be subjugated.

“July 20 is the symbol of the protection of sovereign rights and the equal status of the Turkish Cypriot people.”

Greek Cypriot side

Referring to the Greek Cypriot side, Erdogan argued that a mentality “which is detached from reality and considers itself as the sole sovereign and owner of Cyprus” prevails in the Republic.

On President Nikos Christodoulides, he said, “The new Greek Cypriot leader is posing under the EOKA and Union flags.

“History has clearly shown that Greek Cypriots have no tolerance for Turkish Cypriots.

“This is why the negotiations, in which the Turkish Cypriot side made every effort for a solution for more than half a century, have not yielded any results.

“We wish to see a fair and just solution.

“However, everybody should understand that a federal solution is no longer possible.

“The vision formulated by Ersin Tatar in Geneva in 2021 should be accepted by the international community.”

President Christodoulides said he would not be entering a public blame game debate of mutual accusations, aiming at scoring points.

At an event at the Presidential Palace to mark the 49th anniversary of the Turkish invasion, he reiterated the Greek Cypriot’s commitment to a solution within the European Union.