Erdogan from Turkey to visit Northern Cyprus amid tensions with the EU

Erdogan from Turkey to visit Northern Cyprus amid tensions with the EU

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to travel to the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday for a two-day official visit. He said he would bring “good news” to the breakaway state.
But the visit could also further fuel tensions with the Greek Cypriots and the European Union over the divided eastern Mediterranean island, already high because of Turkish ambitions in the region and its support for a two-state solution. of the Cypriot dispute.

On Tuesday, Erdogan will attend an event marking the 47th anniversary of Turkey’s military intervention – seen as an invasion by the Greek Cypriots – on the island and address the Northern Cyprus parliament in an extraordinary session.

“I hope that we will give messages in the best possible way for the establishment of world peace for the island and the whole world through the ceremonies. [in Northern Cyprus] He said in a speech on Friday.

“We have a good step. We have completed the preliminary studies ”, declared the Turkish president, without giving more details on the matter.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey intervened militarily in response to a brief Greek-backed coup. Turkey said it acted in accordance with a guarantee treaty, signed in 1960 when the Republic of Cyprus was created, which allows Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom to intervene in the disputes.

Since the establishment of the TRNC in 1983, the north has been described as an “occupied part of Cyprus” by the United Nations Security Council. Only Turkey recognizes the so-called TRNC as an independent state.

The Republic of Cyprus, which controls the south of the island and has a Greek Cypriot government, became a member of the EU in 2004.

Greek and Cypriot flags as well as Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags fly near the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, Cyprus [Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters]

Diplomatic initiatives repeated for decades to end the dispute have failed.

A UN rally in Geneva last April failed to negotiate an agreement between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to resume negotiations stalled in 2017. Turkish Cypriot pressure backed by Ankara for a two-way solution Dispute states in Geneva only exacerbated tensions.

The Greek Cypriot side and the international community in general support a federal solution.

Mensur Akgun, professor of international relations at Istanbul Kultur University, said Erdogan should strongly emphasize his support for a two-state solution to the dispute on the island during his visit.

“Turkey has gradually changed its position from a federal solution on the island to a two-state solution, as no settlement could be found to the dispute on the basis of the first after decades of talks,” a- he told Al Jazeera.

“However, Turkey has yet to come up with a roadmap to convince the international community and the Greek Cypriots to turn in this direction,” Akgun said, adding that this should be the next step on the Turkish side.

EU position

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that the EU “would never accept” a two-state proposal for a solution in Cyprus.

“I want to repeat that we will never, ever agree to a two state solution, we are firm on it and very united, and that is what Cyprus can expect,” von der Leyen said at the meeting. of a visit to the island.

“The most valuable part is unity within the EU and knowing that the 26 Member States at European level are by your side,” she said, speaking alongside President Nicos Anastasiades.

Akgun said that in order to convince the world to agree to a two-state solution, Ankara should promote Northern Cyprus as an independent entity and treat the de facto state as its equal.

“He should also start talking to the Greek Cypriot side and offer them something to convince them to [agreeing to] a two-state solution, ”he added.

During his visit to Northern Cyprus, Erdogan, as he did in November 2020, is expected to visit the abandoned resort town of Varosha, from which Greek Cypriot residents fled during the 1974 Turkish incursion.

During his visit to the island in November, Erdogan visited Varosha and said the area would be reopened to the public and the Greek Cypriots could ask a Turkish Cypriot commission, the Real Estate Commission, to claim claims. rights to their properties in the appeal.

Turkey is also at odds with Greece, another EU member, over energy resources and jurisdiction in eastern Mediterranean waters, and the countries were on the brink of a military confrontation last year as a result. that Turkish ships were exploring for hydrocarbons in the region.

Erdogan has repeatedly stated that Turkey will not cease exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean amid opposition from Greece and the EU.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter @Um_Uras


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