France accuses Turkey of “provocation” as Erdogan calls for a “two-state” solution
In Turkey’s “unilateral and uncoordinated” statement on the two-state solution in Cyprus made by visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdoganun in his compromise speech, France on Wednesday expressed support for his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides. France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a July 21 statement that the Turkish leader’s statement is “a provocation” that undermines the restoration of confidence necessary for negotiations and a lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.
France, which holds the monthly presidency of the United Nations Security Council, calls for full compliance with resolutions 550 and 789 of the United Nations Security Council. France will raise the issue in tomorrow’s consultations, Le Drian said. In addition, he reaffirmed France’s attachment to the framework of the United Nations Security Council for Cyprus which, according to it, is based on a bi-zonal and bicommunity federation which presents “all the guarantees” of political equality.
“France deeply regrets this unilateral approach which has not been coordinated and constitutes a provocation,” the French Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday in a statement.
[IMAGE: AP/Turkish Presidency]
In a speech on the 47th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion that led to the Greek-inspired coup organized by the military junta that divided the Mediterranean island, President of Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, rejected the idea of the reunification of Cyprus. Instead, he endorsed a two-state solution, a move that has exacerbated tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean as UN reunification efforts continue.
The Mediterranean island remained divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Speaking in favor of the Turkish Cypriots, Erdogan criticized the Greeks for infringing on the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriots as he called for a “new approach”, adding “we have not yet 50 years to lose” . Recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state, Erdogan said, was key to ending the territorial dispute.
“No progress can be made in the negotiations without accepting that there are two peoples and two states with equal status,” Erdogan said as he supported his ally Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar who had previously said that 3 , 5% of Varosha, southern district of the Cypriot Republic city would be “withdrawn from its military status”.
Supporting the decision of his ally, the leader of Ankara said during his visit on Sunday that “it shows how the Turkish Cypriot authorities are approaching this issue with sensitivity”.
Erdogan’s remarks sparked fury as top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement that any “such decision was an unacceptable unilateral decision.” Turkey accused Borrell of “acting as a spokesperson or lawyer for the Greek Cypriot administration”.
Ankara’s position on Cyprus challenges the world, including the US and the EU, which all recognize the Greek Cypriot administration. The Turkish president attacked the United States and the EU, accusing them of plotting against the Turkish Cypriots. The EU and Washington have expressed their commitment to the UN efforts for a reunified island. Tensions have remained heightened in recent times as Athens and Turkish naval forces clash over hydrocarbon deposits and other energy resources in disputed Mediterranean waters and the scattered islands Greece owns, including Turkey. asserted that they should be his “proportional rights to explore.”
Turkey claims that it “owns” the vast Mediterranean coastline, including the continental shelf a few kilometers off the Turkish coast, and therefore enjoys the “right to exploit” all gas and oil. Last year Turkey struck a deal with Libya to explore energy resources in the self-proclaimed parts of the Mediterranean, which Greece calls sovereign. Greece, meanwhile, retaliated with a rival deal with Egypt, asserting its rights over the disputed maritime demarcations.
[IMAGE: Greek Defense Minstry/AP]
“Cyprus is two distinct peoples, two democracies,” said Turkish leader
As Erdogan traveled to the Varosha seaside area along a UN buffer zone on Sunday to address Turkish-speaking Cypriots in the separatist north, he reiterated that Cyprus is roughly two “separate peoples, two separate democratic orders and two separate states ”, and therefore,“ the two-state solution must be discussed ”. The Ankara leader expressed his solidarity with what he recognizes in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), while the government of the Republic of Cyprus based in Nicosia condemned Erdogan’s remarks as a “provocation unprecedented”.
“Ankara has absolutely no respect for international law, European principles and values and its obligations to the EU,” said the Cypriot presidency in its response to Erdogan’s visit.
It should be noted that the Turks in northern Cyprus installed Erdogan-backed Turkish nationalist Erson Tatar as president and the UN-brokered Cyprus reunification talks collapsed in 2017.