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Politics

Turkish Defense Minister Also Demands Two Separate States on Cyprus

ANKARA – In what would amount to legalizing 1974 invasions that seized the northern third of Cyprus, Turkish Minister of Defense Yasar Guler said the occupied side should be recognized as a separate state.

As has hardline Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, he rejected any idea of reunification in favor of permanent partition and acceptance by the United Nations of a self-declared republic on the occupied side that relies largely on Turkey.

Speaking at an event marking the coming 50th anniversary of two invasions that had the support of the United States, he said Turkey wants to protect the interest of Turkish-Cypriots at the same time it doesn’t recognize the Greek-Cypriot side that’s a member of the European Union Turkey has been trying to join since 2005.

“The reality is that there are two distinct people and two distinct governments on the island. We ought to build upon this reality when setting goals for resolving the Cyprus issue,” he said, seeming to end any hope of restarting unity talks by the UN.

He blamed the Greek-Cypriot side for blocking the proposal and he said “has not allowed for negotiation efforts to succeed.” He added: “Those who dream of maintaining the status quo are the only source of stagnation.”

He said that, “Unless the Greek-Cypriot side, which considers itself the only rightful owner of the island and the Turkish-Cypriot people as a minority, changes its stance, all negotiation efforts will fail,” he added.

He didn’t mention that Turkish-Cypriots make up less than a fifth of the population and are a minority nor that Turkey keeps 35,000 troops on the occupied side and had demanded the right to invade again, which scuttled the last round of reunification talks.

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