NICOSIA – -Repeating his demand for the world to recognize the isolated, occupied northern third of the island, Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said it will never be allowed to become only Greek.
That was a shot at the Greek-Cypriot government that’s a member of the European Union which Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005, prospects worsening under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tatar said he would follow the lead of Erdogan and the two have rejected any further attempts at reunification of the island split with two unlawful Turkish invasions in 1974, Turkey still keeping 35,000 troops there.
Tatar said the Greek-Cypriot side is trying to make Cyprus only a “Greek” island which he said wouldn’t happen because of the Turkish minority which makes up about 18 percent of the island’s population of nearly 574,000 people.
Speaking at the Ostim polytechnic in Ankara, Tatar said the only deal on the table for him is recognition by the United Nations for the occupied territory and he won’t discuss anything that doesn’t give his side equality.
“If there is to be an agreement in Cyprus, then it must be on the basis of cooperation of the two independent peoples who can live side by side,” Tatar said, The Cyprus Mail reported.
He also said nothing would happen without the consent of Erdogan, whom he praised to the skies, as he did the Turkish army, whose presence added to the collapse of 2017 reunification talks at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
Tatar also met the Association of Turkish Fighters; who he claimed carried out a “peace operation” on Cyprus, disputing that it was an invasion. “The realities in Cyprus are clear,” he said.
Speaking later, Tatar said that while in New York that he will not meet President Nicos Anastasiades at the UN General Assembly in New York. “He will not be a presidential candidate in February, so there is no point for us to meet,” he said.
He also told Turkish broadcaster NTV that he would meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was at the Swiss debacle and failed to broker a deal although the occupied part doesn’t belong to the body.
Anastasiades said he would continue to fight for the reunification of Cyprus until the last day of his presidency. “My own program, my own efforts do not depend in any way depend on Mr. Tatar’s opinions,” he added.