Yildirim renews Ankara's support for Turkish Cypriots

Turkish premier attends ceremonies marking 43rd anniversary of Turkey’s intervention in Cyprus as guarantor power

Yildirim renews Ankara's support for Turkish Cypriots

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday said the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) could depend on Ankara for support and said Turkey would “continue protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

Yildirim was speaking in the TRNC where he attended ceremonies marking the 43rd anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 intervention into the Cyprus conflict as a guarantor power.

Recent UN-backed reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, plus Ankara, London and Athens, recently broke down in Switzerland amid recriminations.

Addressing a commemoration, Yildirim said: "It is a serious contradiction and injustice that Turkish Cypriots have paid for the uncompromising approach of the Greek side for years.”

Yildirim also said it was "unfair steps" taken by the Greek Cypriot side which had encouraged deadlock in the talks. 

TRNC President Mustafa Akinci, Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, and Parliament Speaker Sibel Siber, as well as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also attended the ceremony at the Ataturk Memorial in Lefkosa.

President Akinci, writing in an official memorial book, also said Turkish Cypriots "had no responsibility" for the failure of the Switzerland talks.

The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish soldiers interceded under Ankara’s guarantor status to protect the Turkish community from unrest.

Violence broke out amid a Greek Cypriot attempt to forcibly unite Cyprus with Greece then ruled by a right-wing military junta. Turkey sent 40,000 troops -- Operation Atilla -- to the island’s north.

As a result of Greek Cypriot attacks, at least 30,000 Turkish Cypriots were displaced from their villages and the whole Turkish Cypriot population was forced to seek refuge.

Negotiations over Cyprus resumed after a 2004 deal put forward by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.

The plan was rejected in a referendum by the Greek portion of the island whereas Turkish Cypriots voted in favor of the Annan plan.

Last Mod: 20 Temmuz 2017, 12:12
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