Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a group of Turkish Cypriots on Tuesday that there is no country called “Cyprus,” vowing that Turkey will not allow anyone to conduct “an operation on these lands.”
Speaking to a group of Turkish Cypriots, who came to welcome the Turkish prime minister at Lefkoşa's airport in Turkish Cyprus, Erdoğan said: “There is now no country called ‘Cyprus.' There is Greek Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [KKTC].”
Meeting with a group of Turkish Cypriot journalists earlier on Tuesday, Erdoğan said Turkey is no longer prepared to accept the concessions it had agreed to in order to help with the reunification of Cyprus in line with a UN plan back in 2004 and that the Turkish side will accept nothing short of recognition of a two-state solution on the island. Erdoğan told his supporters in Lefkoşa that it is impossible to take a step in Cyprus if a two-state solution is not endorsed.
Erdoğan said Greek Cypriots did remain loyal to what they earlier pledged, referring to a referendum on the Annan Plan for reunification of the island, which Greek Cyprus overwhelmingly rejected in 2004.
“We sat down and talked but they did not remain loyal. We remained loyal. You were loyal, you said ‘yes' by 65 percent. But the south said ‘no' by 75 percent,” Erdoğan said, adding that Greek Cypriots did not honor their promise but that Turkish Cypriots remained loyal their pledge.
“We are right. Now wherever we go in the world, your behavior expresses our rightfulness. We say this to them: What did you want from us? A referendum. Did this referendum take place? Yes. Did the north say ‘yes' in line with your demands? Yes, they did. The south said ‘no.' But you awarded them [by accepting them as an EU member a week later]. What did you do to the north?” Erdoğan said.