The Cyprus issue is Turkey's national cause and Ankara’s aim is to make peace and welfare permanent in the region, Turkish defense minister said Wednesday.
"Cyprus, Cypriots are our brothers, we are ready to do whatever it takes to protect the rights and interests of our Cypriot brothers there," Hulusi Akar said at the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Armed Forces Day reception in Ankara.
Akar said drilling activities in licensed areas in the Eastern Mediterranean is within Turkey's rights and affirmed that Ankara is using and and will use this right. "As Turkey and TRNC with our brothers there, we continue and will continue our work in line with our rights and the international law," Akar said.
He reiterated that any proposed solution for Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean that does not include Turkey and the TRNC would be futile while stressing that Turkey will continue to stand with Cypriot Turks as it has in the past.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. Recent efforts held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the UK -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus was established under the UN Security Council in 1964 to avert a fight between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.
The presence of forces on the island has been questioned by the Turkish side due to its political and biased approach.
By Sarp Ozer