NICOSIA — Visiting the occupied northern third of Cyprus his country has occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said reunification talks won’t start again unless Turkish-Cypriots get equal treatment despite being a minority.
Erdogan said he thinks the mindset of Cypriots remains unchanged from when the latest effort to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when he said he wouldn’t remove an army and wanted the right to militarily intervene when he wanted.
Winning re-election in June 24 snap polls he called that gave him near-dictatorial powers, he came to visit Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in the self-declared Republic that no other country in the world recognizes.
Erdogan said he won’t allow Turkish-Cypriots to become victims of failed attempts at a peace deal or to be reduced to a minority in a Greek Cypriot-dominated state where they represent only 18-21 percent of the population.
He also said he won’t let Turkish-Cypriots take part in another open-ended peace process and he plans to explain that to a United Nations official who will visit Cyprus later this month to discuss changes of rebooting talks that have failed for decades.
Erdogan and Akinci met and then talked to reporters with the Turkish leader saying the Cyprus problem is a “national matter” for his country and as he blamed the Cypriots for intransigence for not agreeing to his demands.
“Unfortunately the Greek Cypriot side insists on a position that is far removed from the spirit of sharing and cooperation,” Akinci said, Kathimerini reported.
Just before landing at an airport in the Capital of Nicosia on the portion occupied by Turkey he tweeted that, “Turkey will never let the Turkish Cypriots become a minority in a Greek Cypriot state,” even though they are, demographically.
He has continued to keep in place warships off the island in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where international energy companies are licensed to drill for oil and gas and said unless Turkish-Cypriots share in the licensing and any prospective revenues that they would authorize drilling in the same areas.