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Why is Turkish Cypriot leader declared ‘enemy’ in Turkey?

The leader of the Cypriot Turks angered Ankara in October for criticizing the Turkish incursion into Syria, but all hell has broken loose since he recently said that any move by Turkey to annex Northern Cyprus would be a “horrible” prospect.

Turkish officials and politicians visiting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized as a state only by Ankara, have refused to meet with its president, Mustafa Akinci, since October. Although Akinci’s criticism of Ankara’s policies was the apparent trigger of the chill, there is more to it in the context of the mounting energy competition in the eastern Mediterranean. 

After Turkey launched a military operation into northeastern Syria on Oct. 9, Akinci took a completely different stance from that of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Turkey and its coalition partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). 

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