Turkey will not allow fait accompli in Cyprus: Presidential spokesperson
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said Turkey will continue to “protect Turkish Cypriots,” on the Mediterranean island, adding that “no fait accompli will be allowed.”
“As a guarantor country, Turkey will use its natural rights stemming from the international law and not allow any fait accompli,” Kalın said in a written statement issued on July 20 to mark the 44th year of Turkey’s presence in Cyprus.
Every year on July 20, Turkey commemorates “Operation Atilla,” a huge military intervention by the Turkish Army to Cyprus, which took place to protect locals from intercommunal violence in 1974, under the name of “Peace and Freedom Day.”
The island was divided by the operation and a country was declared on Nov. 15, 1983. It is currently only recognized by Turkey as an independent state.
The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in 2017 after two years of negotiations.
The Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders, along with the representatives of the guarantor countries, had talks aimed at reunifying the country’s 43-year-long dispute at the United Nations-sponsored discussions, but the latest round of a peace attempt failed in the Swiss Alps in June of last year.
At the meeting, Greek Cypriot negotiators reportedly rejected the presence of Turkish troops on the island—troops deployed there to protect Turkish Cypriots from ethnic violence—and also rejected Turkey’s role under the treaty as a guarantor country for Cyprus.
Underlying the negotiation efforts, “the Republic of Turkey has always supported a just, permanent order which is based on equality to be built,” said Kalın.
“Our country had put a great effort to tackle the issue seriously and sincerely by setting aside the approaches that regard insolvability as a solution,” he said.
“In contrast to Turkey’s and the Turkish Cypriot community’s sincere approach, it is obvious there are some circles that aim to make Turkish Cypriots a minority within the Greek Cypriot state. With the fail of the Cyprus Conference, this approach has come to the surface,” the spokesperson added.
“The international community has to take sides on Turkish Cypriots and adopt a particular attitude against the Greek side, which rejects the proposals of solutions,” Kalın said.
44th year marked on island and Turkey
North Cyprus Peace and Freedom Day was marked on July 20 in both Turkish Cyprus and in several cities in Turkey, as thousands of people attended a dawn vigil on the island.
Huge numbers of people gathered at a beach in northern Cyprus where Turkish forces entered the island on the day of the operation.
In addition to the events in Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay have attended the official ceremony in Ankara.
The two leaders, along with official representatives, have visited Anıtkabir in Ankara, which is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
“Turkish Cypriots who have adopted your principles and revolutions without any force, remember your excellency with respect and gratitude on this day,” Akıncı wrote in Anıtkabir’s official notebook.
“The Republic of Turkey will continue to be the assurance of the freedom and prosperity that has come after the fierce struggles of Turkish Cypriots and the blood of our martyrs,” Oktay wrote.
“We confirm our unity in our difficult aim and our belief in the struggle for the Turkish Republic of Cyprus once more,” he added.
The 44th anniversary was also marked in Istanbul, İzmir, Ankara, and Mersin with symbolic gatherings and events that were attended by Cyprus’ consul generals.