Cypriot Foreign Ministry Slams Erdogan's Visit To Northern Cyprus

ATHENS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st July, 2023) The Cypriot Foreign Ministry strongly condemned on Thursday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, describing it as "provocative."

Earlier in the day, Erdogan attended the opening of the new building of the Ercan International Airport, known as Tymbou in Cyprus, which is located in Northern Cyprus. The construction cost was 400 million Euros ($447 million). The airport has a capacity of 10 million passengers.

Erdogan's visit came on the 49th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, which took place after Greece attempted to annex the island.

"The foreign ministry unequivocally condemns the illegal visit of the Turkish president to the occupied territories, who once again chose to participate in 'festive events' on such a sad day for our island. The presence of President Erdogan confirms the full responsibility of Turkey, which systematically promotes its illegal plans on Cyprus in violation of international law and the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. In this context, the Turkish president decided to repeat his unacceptable and provocative statements on the Cyprus issue, questioning the agreed framework of a bizonal, bicommunal Federal solution," the ministry said in a statement seen by Sputnik.

Erdogan's remarks were an attempt to promote international recognition of the "separatist" northern Cyprus and were detrimental to any possible efforts to settle the Cyprus issue, the ministry said. The Turkish president's participation in the opening ceremony at the airport confirms Ankara's long-standing policy aimed at strengthening the unrecognized republic's dependence on Turkey and promoting the two-state solution, it added.

In addition, the Cypriot Foreign Ministry pledged to take all necessary steps in response to Turkey's "unacceptable" actions in Northern Cyprus, including the reopening of the Varosha area, the southern quarter of the city of Famagusta, which used to be a popular tourist destination in Cyprus before the Turkish invasion.

Cyprus has been de facto divided since 1974, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared in 1983 with Turkey's backing. Negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus have been underway almost from the moment of its partition. The United Nations has attempted to mediate reunification talks, but the negotiations have reached an impasse. In late June, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his readiness to resume negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus issue under UN auspices.