Turkey’s top diplomat accuses Turkish Cypriot leader of being ‘dishonest’
A row between Ankara and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı over the latter’s statements on future relations between North Cyprus and Turkey is deepening, as Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has described Akıncı as “the most dishonest politician” he has ever worked with.
“The Turkish Cypriots do not deserve such a dishonest politician. What advantage could he get by deteriorating ties with Turkey? Whose interests is he serving? All these must be evaluated,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a press conference with his Slovenian counterpart on Feb. 10.
“I have never worked with such a dishonest politician,” he said, informing that he will publicize many examples of Akıncı’s dishonest moves that he had observed during the failed reunification talks between Turkish and Greek Cyprus in the past.
Akıncı has prompted Ankara’s anger after he said the failure of peace talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots may lead to the annexation of North Cyprus by Turkey. He also referred to the integration of the Republic of Hatay to Turkey in 1939 through a referendum.
Senior Turkish officials have strongly slammed Akıncı over his remarks and accused him of using the issue as a tool for the upcoming presidential elections in the northern part of the island.
“Not only I, but not a single Turkish Cypriot has ever imagined that, one day, a politician in Turkish Cyprus would use Turkey as an election tool,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkey will continue to support the Turkish Cypriots for a negotiated settlement based on equality, the minister said, “We are talking about the equality of the Turkish Cypriot people, but he is preferring to attack Turkey.”
Recalling that the presidential elections are looming and it’s out of question for Turkey to interfere in the domestic affairs of the Turkish Cypriots, Çavuşoğlu stated, “We will always continue to be on their side. We will support those who are defending the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people. Why is Akıncı attacking Turkey for no reason? Why does he make anti-Turkey statements while Turkey is fighting terrorism? The Turkish Cypriots should think about all these.”
Çavuşoğlu also condemned Akıncı for having criticized Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring” into Syria last year.
The presidential elections will take place in the northern part of the island on April 26. Akıncı will run as an independent candidate against four contenders for presidency.