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Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a two-state solution for Cyprus




The Turkish President and the TRNC chief share the same vision of a two-state solution (Photo: Turkish Presidency)
The Turkish President and the TRNC chief share the same vision of a two-state solution (Photo: Turkish Presidency)
CYPRUS / TURKEY. "The existence and unity of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus comes before all political considerations." Speaking on Monday 19 July 2021 to parliamentarians from the Turkish part of the island, Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member and the only one recognised by the international community, of leading the negotiations into a deadlock. According to the Turkish president, "history and our bitter experience in this process have clearly established that the Greek side has no intention of forming a single common state."

Unsurprisingly, Ersin Tatar, head of the Turkish Cypriot state (TRNC), recognised only by Ankara, is in line with the Turkish president's words. "We are determined, together with Turkey, to defend our equal rights over our continental shelf", he declared on Tuesday 20 July 2021, on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Operation for Peace in Cyprus, also known as Operation Attila. On 20 July 1974, Turkish forces intervened on the Mediterranean island to protect the interests of the Turkish community there. This offensive was a response to the attempt by the colonels' dictatorship in Greece to unite Cyprus with Greece (Enosis) by dethroning Archbishop Makarios, its president.

Since then, and despite UN Security Council Resolution 353 calling for the "immediate withdrawal of all military units from the territory of the Republic of Cyprus", the Turkish army occupies 38% of the island's territory. A demilitarised zone, known as the "green line", separates the two parts of the island. It is controlled by some 750 soldiers of UNFICYP, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus created in 1964 under a UN mandate.

"Recognising the equal sovereignty and equal status of Turkish Cypriots"

"A just, permanent and lasting solution can only be possible with an approach based on the realities of the island," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for whom the only solution remains that of two states. "The first step is to recognise the equal sovereignty and equal status of the Turkish Cypriots."

For the Turkish president, "the Cypriot people will not give up their independence or their freedom. We are right and we will defend our rights to the end." He accused the Greek Cypriots of having "never given up rejecting the equality-based solution and seeing the Turkish Cypriots as a minority. The Greek Cypriot side insists on its insincere, maximalist and out of touch position".

The UN has always stated its opposition to a two-state solution. At the end of April 2021 in Geneva, an informal meeting on a possible reunification and the departure of Turkish forces - organised with representatives of both sides of Cyprus, Greece, the UK and Turkey, under the aegis of the UN - was a failure. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hopes for a new meeting on both issues "in the near future, within two to three months".

Read our survey on the partition of Cyprus

Frédéric Dubessy


Tuesday, July 20th 2021



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