NICOSIA — Ahead of the 47th year of marking Turkey's invasion and occupation of the northern third of Cyprus, Turkish-Cypriot hardliner leader Ersin Tatar – who has rejected reunification – repeated he wants two separate states and recognition.
He said rights of the minority Turkish-Cypriots, who make up only about a fifth of the divided island's population, have to be protected even at the cost of leaving them isolated in the world.
Aligning himself with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said that, “Cyprus has undergone big incidents, a big genocide had taken place, yet with the support of Turkey, here we are. We have a state, we have a republic,” Turkey's pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah said.
“An agreement to decrease tensions between Turkey and Greece in order for balances to be created in the Eastern Mediterranean would benefit everyone,” he said, without explaining how that would be the case for Greek-Cypriots.
“The Turkish people must never forget the incidents that happened in Cyprus because everything had been done for Cyprus to become a Greek island. Yet, with Turkey’s support, we resisted there. And we continue to resist,” Tatar added.
As for Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades' insistence on a federation and reunification, Tatar said that, “Cyprus as a whole being admitted to the European Union under a federal roof, would mean that our ties with Turkey are being cut. We will never allow our ties with Turkey to be broken off”.
The legitimate government of Cyprus is a member of the EU but Tatar said he doesn't want any part of that and only recognition for the occupied territory that Anastasiades has rejected out of hand being put on the table for talks for now.