By Ayse Sensoy Boztepe
Turkey’s presidential spokesperson Friday called on the international community to stand with the Turkish Cypriots, who are seeking a solution on the Mediterranean island at every opportunity.
“Under current conditions, the international community must take sides with the Turkish Cypriots, who have always stood for a solution to make lasting peace and tranquility on the island, and take a clear stand against the Greek side, which spurns proposals for peace,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a Twitter post, marking the 44th anniversary of Turkey’s Peace Operation on Cyprus.
July 20 Peace and Freedom Day in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus commemorates Turkey’s Cyprus Peace Operation -- a huge military intervention to protect Turkish Cypriots from inter-communal violence which struck the island in 1974.
In his message, Kalin commemorated the martyrs of the operation and praised the Turkish army for preventing an attempt to commit genocide against Cyprus’ Turks.
Stating that the Republic of Turkey has always supported an order that is just, lasting, and based on equality, he said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has worked for the sincere and serious handling of the issue.
'Turkey will exercise its rights under international law'
Kalin said the Turkish Cypriots have also taken many steps for a peaceful solution, including the failed 2004 referendum and the years that followed.
In the referendum, Turkish Cypriots accepted the UN’s Annan plan -- aimed to resolve the status of the island-- but it was rejected by Greek Cypriot voters.
The eastern Mediterranean island 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.
The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in 2017 after two years of negotiations.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared on Nov. 15, 1983. It is currently recognized only by Turkey as an independent state.
Kalin also decried attempts to make Turkish Cypriots a minority on the island.
“Turkey will exercise its rights under international law till the end, as a guarantor country, it won’t allow any fait accompli and will stand by [Turkish] Cypriots.”