Yıldırım renews Ankara’s support for Turkish Cypriots
NICOSIATurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said July 20 that Turkish Cyprus could depend on Ankara for support and said Turkey would “continue protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Yıldırım was speaking in Nicosia, where he attended ceremonies marking the 43rd anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 intervention into the Cyprus conflict as a guarantor power.
Recent U.N.-backed reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, plus guarantors Ankara, London and Athens recently broke down in Switzerland amid recriminations.
“It is a serious contradiction and injustice that Turkish Cypriots have paid for the uncompromising approach of the Greek side for years,” Yıldırım said while addressing a commemoration.
He also said it was “unfair steps” taken by the Greek Cypriot side which had encouraged deadlock in the talks.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün and Parliament Speaker Sibel Siber, as well as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also attended the ceremony at the Ataturk Memorial in Nicosia.
President Akıncı, 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 intervened against a Greece-backed coup attempt.
Turkey sent 40,000 troops to the island’s north.
The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) expressed his wish for a permanent peace on the island.
In a statement marking the anniversary, Kıolıçdaroğlu said “I wish mercy for our martyrs on the 43rd anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation.”
“I hope a permanent peace on Cyprus will be reached soon,” he said.