NICOSIA — Turkey’s new President says his country will only approve of a deal to reunify Cyprus if it enshrines breakaway Turkish Cypriots as equal partners in a federation with the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of uniting the island with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which maintains 35,000 troops there.
Peace talks resumed earlier this year. Greek Cypriots oppose a deal putting the breakaway administration on an equal footing with the government because they say it would legitimize something created through the force of arms. Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the remark Sept. 1 during a visit to the Turkish Cypriot north, his first trip abroad following his election last month.