Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, Reuters, CNA)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for an equal “two-state” solution in Cyprus during a visit on Sunday to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, drawing a rebuke from the internationally recognised government of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar attend a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” of the so-called “trnc”, an illegal entity recognized only by Turkey.
Erdogan also said Turkey and Northern Cyprus would no longer tolerate what he called “diplomacy games” in an international dispute over rights to offshore resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Our priority is to ensure a fair, lasting and sustainable solution” in Cyprus that ensures Turkish Cypriots have security and legal rights, Erdogan told an audience after his arrival.
“A two-state solution must be negotiated on the basis of sovereign equality,” he added.
Erdogan was visiting the occupied areas after Ersin Tatar, who also supports a two-state solution, won last month’s presidential election. Tatar’s predecessor had backed reunification of the island.
The government of Cyprus called Erdogan’s visit “provocative and illegal”.
“Ankara has absolutely no respect for international law, European principles and values, and its obligations towards the EU,” the Cypriot presidency said in a statement.
Erdogan later visited Varosha, a beach town that has been fenced-off and abandoned in no-man’s land since 1974. Ankara backed the partial re-opening of Varosha just before last month’s election in a move criticised by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in Varosha, accompanied by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, where he said he wanted to enjoy a picnic.
Images showed the area where he was to be received was on Kennedy Avenue near a hotels called Joulia house and Serenisima, from the upper floors of which large Turkish and ‘Turkish Cypriot’ flags were hung.
Erdogan was protected from the rain under a white, sheltered seating area that had been built especially for the purpose next to the picnic area.
Despite the rain, a large crowd waving flags had gathered to welcome him to the area although they were not allowed near the beach.
Journalists were also kept far from the place but passing them on the way in Erdogan said “first we will see the view and then we will speak”.
The beach area of Varosha was reopened last month shortly before the election of Tatar in the north, with the backing of Ankara.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will no longer tolerate “diplomacy games” over rights to offshore resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
On a visit to the north, which only Ankara recognises as a state, Erdogan said peace and stability cannot be achieved in the region unless Turkey and “northern Cyprus” receive a fair share of territorial rights.
Turkey has increasingly flexed its military muscle in the region, including by backing Azerbaijan in its renewed conflict with Armenia over the past few weeks.
Erdogan alluded to Turkey’s dispute with EU members Greece and Cyprus and with other neighbours over territorial waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
The EU has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey next month over illegal exploration at sea.
“Neither we nor Northern Cyprus can tolerate diplomacy games (in the region) anymore,” Erdogan said.
He added that Tatar would soon visit Azerbaijan – which does not recognise Northern Cyprus – to “make the situation better”, without elaborating.
Erdogan’s clear threat for recognition by Azerbaijan comes of the eve a the arrival of UNSG’s advisor Jane Hall Lute to explore possibilities of convening a 5+1 informal Cyprus summit.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that he would explore the possibility of resuming talks he called a halt to in July 2017 when negotiations between the two sides as well as Cyprus’ “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and Britain — led to an impasse.
-Hundreds of Turkish Cypriots took to the streets to protest Erdogan’s Varosha visit as well as what they say are Turkey’s attempts to subvert their secular way of life. The peace group Unite Cyprus Now said both Greek and Turkish Cypriots are united in their denunciation of the Turkish president’s “provocative” visit to Varosha.