Turkey on Monday criticized the European Union’s stance on the divided island of Cyprus which has seen an erratic peace process over the past several years.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell’s statement "revealed how disconnected the EU is from the realities on the Island."
Borrell on Sunday expressed regret over the opening of the coastline of Maras in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The abandoned town was opened for public after 46 years. Before this, entry to the area was forbidden to anyone except Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.
Stating that the EU turns a blind eye toward the wishes of Turkish Cypriots, Aksoy said: “A fair, lasting and sustainable settlement is only possible if it is based on the will of the two peoples who are the co-owners of the Island.”
“Being used to ignoring the existence and rights of the Turkish Cypriots, the EU now dares to rule out the Turkish Cypriot people’s will toward a settlement,” he said.
Noting the EU's double standards, he said the Greek Cypriot administration was given membership in the bloc despite its rejection of the 2004 UN settlement plan, while promises made to the Turkish Cypriot side have been long forgotten.
He went on to say that the federal solution model with two regions had been tried for more than 50 years, and was failing.
“If the EU wishes to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus issue, first and foremost, it should acknowledge the existence and the will of the Turkish Cypriot people, and fulfill its commitments made in 2004,” Aksoy added.
In 2004, the UN led a referendum on the reunification of the island; it was approved by a majority of Turkish Cypriots, but overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday called for a two-state solution of the island, saying: “There are two peoples and two separate states in Cyprus."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.