‘We will continue to resolutely defend rights, interests of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,’ Recep Tayyip Erdogan says
Turkish Cypriots will never be a minority, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, stressing that Türkiye will continue to protect the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
“The rightful demands of the Turkish Cypriots, who are the ancient and primary element of the island, are clear and definite. Turkish Cypriots have never been a minority and will never be. Those who ignore these facts continue their dreams of becoming the sole ruler of the island.
“I advise this group to put aside their obsessions and face the realities of the island,” Erdogan told a joint news conference with TRNC President Ersin Tatar during his first visit to the country after his reelection on May 28.
If the parties are to come back to the negotiating table, it will be through the recognition of the TRNC, Erdogan added.
“We will continue to resolutely defend the rights and interests of Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” he stressed.
Türkiye’s roadmap is clear, Erdogan said, adding that Ankara wants the Aegean Sea to be a “sea of peace.”
“Despite the Turkish Cypriots’ efforts, more than half a century has been wasted due to the uncompromising and maximalist approaches of the Greek side.
“No one can afford to lose yet another 50 years. The affirmation of equal international status and sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriots, which are their vested rights, is a sine qua non for us,” Erdogan said.
During the meeting with Tatar, Erdogan said they discussed the bilateral ties, and the current situation in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Undoubtedly, among these issues, the transportation of electricity from Türkiye to the TRNC via cables will be our most important step. With that, there will be no such problem as a power cut from then on in the TRNC,” he added.
For his part, Tatar said it is “very meaningful” that Erdogan is paying his first visit to the TRNC.
“You are sending the message to all the states of the world that you are always taking care of the TRNC,” he added.
Following the recent developments in the region, such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Tatar said the importance of the Blue Homeland and the TRNC has increased.
“The Blue Homeland is now in safe hands. The Turkish Cypriot people, with their right of sovereignty and struggle for existence, are always in harmony with their homeland, the Republic of Türkiye,” he added.
Tatar also stressed that there can be only a negotiation among the parties on the basis of sovereign equality.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece, and the UK.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.