Turkey does not have “another 50 years to waste” on the Cyprus issue, the Turkish President said on Tuesday, adding that proposals for a peaceful resolution of the matter are still on the table.
“A new negotiation process on Cyprus can only be carried out between the two states,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a ceremony in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) marking the 47th anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation.
“The Greek Cypriots could not wake up from the ignorance of seeing Turkish Cypriots as a minority and rejecting a solution on the basis of equality,” he said, adding that the Greek Cypriot side insists on maintaining its “maximalist, insincere and spoiled approach that is disconnected from reality.”
Erdogan noted that the EU had vowed to support Turkish Cyprus in financial and administrative matters, but has so far failed to do so.
Referring to the Greek Cypriot administration, Erdogan said: “We can see that there are still those who yearn for the massacres before 1974. They are not honest.”
“We are right (on Cyprus issue), and because we are right, we will defend our rights until the end,” he stressed.
“No one should expect from Turkish Cypriots to give up their equal status and sovereignty, and to accept to live as a minority as per the will of the Greek Cypriots,” he said, adding that the Turkish Cypriots would not compromise on their independence and freedom.
“First of all, the sovereign equality and equal status of the Turkish Cypriots should be confirmed. This is the key to the solution,” the Turkish president said.
On the eastern island’s town of Maras, which was partially reopened to the public in 2020 after 47 years, Erdogan said this opening would be carried out with utmost attention to property rights.
Mass opening ceremonies
Erdogan also attended the mass opening and groundbreaking ceremonies of a new campus of Anadolu University, based in Turkey’s central Eskisehir province, in the TRNC’s capital Lefkosa.
“Turkish Cypriots, who are equal co-owners of the island, have been condemned to the illegal and inhumane embargo of the Greek Cypriots for decades. On the other hand, we’re implementing projects that will increase the welfare level of Turkish Cypriots every day,” Erdogan said.
Underlining that many municipalities in Turkey provide both knowhow and support to the island with their projects in the TRNC, he said sincere cooperation between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus reinforced brotherly relations between the two.
Erdogan also highlighted the importance of data production and protection in state security amid the information age.
“Thanks to our national technology move, we have come a long way in adapting our human capital, software, hardware, and infrastructure to the digital transformation in the best way. We exhibit an exemplary performance especially in the digitalization of public services. We also strive to strengthen the digital infrastructure of the TRNC,” he said.
Turkey aims to deliver public services to Turkish Cypriots in the easiest and most effective way, in a high-quality, fast, uninterrupted, and safe manner, he said. “I’d like to thank our Digital Transformation Office for playing a pioneering role in these efforts,” he added.