Anastasiades calls Erdogan’s illegitimate and secessionist visit to Northern Cyprus
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a controversial visit to Northern Cyprus on Sunday to mark his support for the island territory’s separation from mainland Cyprus. President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus slammed Erdogan’s visit to the north as a “secessionist act of declaring an unconstitutional regime.” “Ankara has absolutely no regard for international law, for the ideals and values of Europe and for its obligations to the EU,” he said.
To assert his superiority and supremacy, Erdogan has pursued comprehensive intervention policies in the region, spanning from Libya, Syria, Azerbaijan and now Northern Cyprus. A recent visit by the Turkish leader was scheduled to attend the celebrations marking the state’s unilateral declaration of independence 37 years ago and to extend his support to Ersin Tatar, who won the presidential election in northern Cyprus last month.
Cyprus is divided into two parts, one of which is the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU member state and occupies two-thirds of the territory to the south, and the other, which has been controlled by Turkey since 1974, is the northern third. Erdogan and Tatar also advocate a two-state solution for Cyprus, which the international community, including the European Union and the United Nations, firmly rejects.
During his recent visit to Cyprus, Erdogan said, “Our priority is to ensure a fair, permanent and sustainable solution” to the fight for Turkish Cypriots’ protection and legal rights. In Cyprus, there are two groups and two independent states. There must be talks on the basis of two independent states for a solution… On the basis of sovereign equality, a two-state solution must be negotiated,” he said.
The only country that recognises Northern Cyprus as an independent state is Turkey. As Turkish Cypriot waters are a rich resource for oil exploration, Erdogan holds a strong strategic interest in the region. Ankara continues to conduct its oil exploration operations in the region, which last year also brought it into dispute with Greece, accusing it of carrying out its energy exploration project in the Mediterranean waters, which Greece considers to be its territory.
Next month, the EU threatened to place restrictions on Turkey for its illicit exploration in the disputed eastern Mediterranean waters. “Neither we nor Northern Cyprus can in the region) tolerate diplomatic games anymore,” said Erdogan.