NICOSIA - Doğan News Agency
"To begin, [Greek] Cyprus is not a state, it's an administration. There is no such thing as Cyprus as a country," Erdoğan said during a speech at Eötvös Lorand (ELTE) University in Budapest, Hungary on Feb. 5. AA photo
The government of South Cyprus strongly condemned Feb. 8 the remarks of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
in which he claimed that there was "no such thing as Cyprus as a country."
"The agitation and bullying manifested by Erdoğan cannot change our determination for freedom and reunification. Cyprus is a country and a member of the U.N. as well as the EU, of which it assumed the presidency during the previous six months. It exercises its sovereign rights such as the exploitation of its natural resources," said Christos Christofides, a Greek
Cypriot government spokesman.
Erdoğan had slammed the EU once again during his Central European visits to three countries this week. "To begin, [Greek] Cyprus is not a state, it's an administration. There is no such thing as Cyprus as a country," he said during a speech at Eötvös Lorand (ELTE) University in Budapest, during his bilateral visit to Hungary on Feb. 5.
The candidate of the ruling communist party, AKEL, in the presidential elections to be held on Feb. 17 and former Foreign Minister Giorgios Lillikas has also denounced Erdoğan's words. "I hope that those who wished that natural gas be transported to Europe
via Turkey will come down to earth," said Lillikas.
South Cyprus' initiatives to explore for oil and natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean have heated the already strained relations between the two countries.
Nikos Anastasiadis, the leader of the Democratic Rally (DISY) and one of the most fervent supporters of the Annan Plan for the reunification of the island back in 2004, is another Greek
Cypriot politician who has reacted strongly to Erdoğan's comments. Anastasiadis' press secretary, Tasos Mitsopulos, said that any prospect of Turkey entering the EU had to pass through EU-member South Cyprus and called on the government to file a complaint about the Turkish prime minister.