NICOSIA – After insisting that Germany shouldn’t take Greece’s side in disputes, Turkey wants other countries to be neutral about the long-standing problem of how – or if – to reunify Cyprus some 48 years after Turkish invasions.
But at the same time, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the international community has to accept what he said were the rights of the minority Turkish-Cypriots who have occupied the northern third since 1974.
“Our expectation from the third parties is to be objective and neutral on the Cyprus issue, abandon strategic blindness, pursue an equal approach towards the Turkish Cypriots and pledge their rights,” Akar said, reported the Turkish newspaper the Hurriyet Daily News.
He complained that the demands of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriots to give up the idea of reunification and for the United Nations and world to accept the isolated occupied side shouldn’t be ignored as they have been.
While Turkey keeps 35,000 troops in the occupied territory and is unlawfully drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, Akar said the Greek-Cypriots are blocking peace efforts.
“Greek-Cypriots should realize the realities, see the Turkish presence and recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Turkish presence. They should acknowledge their right to live in security and prosperity,” Akar stated.
He said that Turkey won’t relinquish its role as one of the guarantors of security on the island, along with Greece and the United Kingdom, the former ruling Colonial ruler which still has military bases there.
“Nobody should interpret our calls for dialogue as weakness and not see our statements that ‘We will never allow the violation of our rights’ as a threat. Turkey will continue to stand with its Cypriots brothers in their rightful cause,” Akar said.