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Politics

Turkish-Cypriot Leader Says EU Unfair to Turkish-Cypriot Side

NICOSIA – Ersin Tatar, the hardline nationalist leader of the Turkish-Cypriot occupied side of the island said the European Union should be “ashamed” over its stance that he said favors the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government, a member of the bloc.

Tatar, who has rejected any idea of reunification and demanded instead that the United Nations and world recognize the occupied territory seized in two unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions.

Now he told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that it was the Turkish-Cypriots who backed solving the dilemma by approving a 2004 referendum for a settlement, the Annan Plan named for the then UN-Secretary General Kofi Annan.

That was widely rejected by the Greek-Cypriots and has continued to see the Turkish side isolated in the world and accepted only by Turkey, with a faltering economy and unrecognized.

“We said yes to the Annan plan, they said no. They were rewarded with EU membership (in May 2004). The EU should feel ashamed of its treatment of Turkish Cypriots,” he said.

But instead of any attempt at reconciliation he has agitated unrest, partially reopening the abandoned town of Varosha, continuing to snub his nose at UN resolutions that said only the original owners of seized property could reclaim it, mostly Greek-Cypriots.

He said the reopening was a “decision long overdue for Turkish Cypriots, who have suffered greatly under embargoes and from international isolation. We needed to take a step in response to our unjust treatment by the international community.”

He said the former residents could apply for relief to the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) which is recognized as a domestic legal remedy by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding their property there.

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