On Cyprus, Erdogan Plans Big Show Marking Invasion Anniversary

NICOSIA — Extending his imperialistic approach to Turkey's self-declared Blue Homeland doctrine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly plans to use a July 20 visit to the occupied side of Cyprus to push a nationalist and religious agenda.

Preparations are underway for the event, said Kathimerini, citing unnamed sources as reporting that Erdogan, who has ignored soft European Union sanctions against Turkey drilling for oil and gas off the island, will also use a military base there for drones.

His trip will come the same day as the 1974 unlawful invasion in which Turkish forces, with the implicit consent of the United States, seized the northern third it still holds, with a 35,000-strong army.

The legitimate Cypriot government on the other side is a member of the European Union but all efforts for reunification have failed for decades and now Erdogan, with the agreement of new Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, has now demanded recognition for the isolated occupied side.

This year, July 20 coincides with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha and Erdogan will bring an entourage that includes government officials and those from his ruling AK party and the Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli, the paper said.

Erdogan is also expected to make announcements about plans for the fenced-off former and now abandoned resort of Varosha he partially reopened in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

Tatar said the visit will be a showcase marking what Turkey called a “peace operation,” in which Turkish soldiers killed and imprisoned Cypriots, with thousands still missing, their remains and whereabouts unknown.


ATHENS - Turkey's Defense Ministry said the 48th anniversary of a second invasion stage of Cyprus was a reminder that it wasn't an occupation but an operation to protect Turkish-Cypriots.

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