As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracked his country would be eager to do it again under his rule, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis marked the July 20th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and said Greeks will always remember.
“We do not forget the victims of the invasion and the sacrifices of the Cypriot Hellenism. We are always on the side of our Cypriot brothers in the fight for the reunification of Cyprus,” he said in a tweet.
The invasion was launched by Turkey after a coup on July 15 by the Greek military junta which ruled Greece at the time, which toppled Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios, seeing Turkey respond with two invading waves and occupying the northern third.
Provocative and bombastic as always, Erdogan said his country’s army would do the same today “if needed,” with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades earlier saying he believes it could happen, and as Turkey has sent energy vessels into Cypriot waters to look for gas.
In remarks published by the Anadolu news agency, Erdogan said that the Turkish army will never hesitate to take the same steps “if needed for the lives and security of Turkish- Cypriots,” in the occupied territory recognized only by Turkey.
“Those who think that the wealth of the island and the region only belongs to them will face the determination of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots,” he said.
The Turkish invasion, in response to an Athens-backed coup, led to the forced displacement of around 200,000 people, while more than 30,000 Turkish troops are in the occupied part and won’t leave, said Erdogan.
That insistence, along with his demand for the right to militarily intervene again when he wants was the key reason for the breakdown of reunification talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.