With the divide growing between the two sides of the divided island, Turkish-Cypriots said they don’t want Turkey to remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied area they have lived in since an unlawful 1974 invasion.
Speaking at a conference in Turkey’s central province of Konya, the self-declared premier of the occupied land that no other country recognizes, Ersin Tatar said that it was “out of the question” for Turkey to give up being one of the guarantors of security, along with Greece and the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom, which still has military bases there.
That was the reason the last round of negotiations to reunify the island after 45 years fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana where Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades walked away, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci saying they also wanted the right to militarily intervene again when they wanted.
“Turkey’s resolute stance and support in the eastern Mediterranean gives us strength,” said Tatar, referring to Turkey’s activities in the region, said Hurriyet Daily News, which has included sending drillships into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to look for energy.
Tatar said Cyprus’ legitimate government – a member of the European Union that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005 while refusing to recognize it and barring its ships and planes – violated international law – which Turkey doesn’t recognize – by licensing foreign companies to drill for oil and gas in the EEZ, backed by the United States and EU.