Erdoğan vows two-state solution to Cyprus problem
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his main political ally, Devlet Bahçeli, paid a historic visit to the abandoned city of Varosha in North Cyprus as part of the 37th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as he conveyed important messages on the need for a two-state solution to the decades-old Cyprus question.
“Today, there are two nations, two states. A two-state solution based on sovereign equality needs to be negotiated,” Erdoğan said in an address at the ceremony for the 37th anniversary of the foundation of the North Cyprus on Nov. 15 in Nicosia.
It’s no longer possible to discuss a partnership on the island with the Greek Cypriots as they have never wanted to share anything with the Turks as proven in 2004 and 2017, Erdoğan said. “Neither us, as guarantor, nor the Turkish Cyprus will tolerate to the diplomatic plays.”
Erdoğan did also urge the European Union to stop blindly supporting the Greek Cyprus and Greece and focus on a genuine negotiation for the solution of the problems stemming from the overlapping continental shelves in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Our proposal for holding a conference on the eastern Mediterranean in a way to include the Turkish Cypriots is a sincere reflection of our will to this end. We hope the EU will not leave our proposal for peace unanswered,” he suggested.
Erdoğan congratulated the Turkish Cypriot government for partially opening Varosha through a very brave decision, expressing his expectation that the abandoned city will soon be resurrected and revived. “A new era for Varosha will begin to the advantage of everybody by respecting property rights. Varosha will no longer be the symbol of the non-resolution.”
A large delegation accompanied Erdoğan
Erdoğan, accompanied by six ministers including the foreign and defense ministers, and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Bahçeli visited North Cyprus in a one-day visit and held meetings with North Cyrprus’ newly elected President Ersin Tatar.
The Turkish delegation was included the senior military and civilian bureaucrats as both sides have discussed the future steps in terms of joint policies in the eastern Mediterranean.
Along with official meetings, the most important leg of the one-day tour was Varosha where the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials held a picnic in the abandoned city since 1974 when the Greek Cypriots left their houses and workplaces after Turkey’s military intervention.
The Turkish Cypriot government decided to open the beaches of Varosha to public use in early October, sparking strong criticisms from Greek Cyprus and Greece. Both countries slammed Erdoğan for his visit to Varosha as they deemed it a provocation.
The Turkish Cypriot administration has established a special spot inside Varosha where the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials will enjoy a picnic. Many Turkish Cypriots were observed to flock to the area as well.
Earlier in the day, Erdoğan and Bahçeli attended the official program for the celebration of the 37th anniversary of the foundation of the country as they watched the parade. He laid a wreath at Atatürk’s monument in Nicosia.
As part of the program, Erdoğan joined the inauguration of a 100-bed emergency hospital in Nicosia specifically to be served during the pandemic.
Later, Tatar hosted Erdoğan and the Turkish delegation at a dinner after the official talks at the presidency.
Erdoğan attends opening of emergency hospital
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also attended the opening ceremony of the Lefkosa Emergency Hospital.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of the hospital, Erdoğan said: "The most important sign of solidarity with the TRNC is this [Lefkosa Emergency Hospital] emergency hospital."
"We wouldn't have completed this hospital in as short a time as 45 days if our hearts were not united with the TRNC," he added.
Citing Turkey's support for the TRNC, Erdoğan pointed out that Ankara had provided 149 million Turkish liras ($19 million) in aid to the country during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"We came to our brothers' aid in Northern Cyprus from the very beginning of the pandemic. We provided all kinds of support in the field of health," he said.
He went on to say that a 500-bed hospital would also soon be opened in the TRNC.
Erdoğan was visiting the TRNC on the occasion of the country's 37th foundation anniversary.
"The hospital is ready, the health system has become stronger, the TRNC continues to become stronger in front of the eyes of the world," said the TRNC's President Ersin Tatar underlining that the Lefkosa Emergency Hospital was completed in two months on Erdogan's instruction.
Tatar said they could always receive support from Turkey for any needs in the TRNC.