IZMIR, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan redoubled his calls to the international community on Thursday to recognize the Turkish Cypriot state, saying that no new talks on the divided island could happen without recognizing the equal status of Turkish Cypriots.
Erdogan made his statement at a ceremony marking the 49th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish military intervention, which followed a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece and has left the island divided along ethnic lines ever since.
“July 20 is the symbol of sovereignty and the equal status of the Turkish Cypriots,” he said, accusing the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south of usurping the name “Republic of Cyprus” and pretending to be the “only owner” of the island, including its membership to the European Union. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is recognized only by Turkey.
Earlier Thursday, Erdogan called on the global community to use the renovated Ercan airport on the north of the island, despite UN resolutions that place the breakaway state under an embargo. “Due to the unfair and purely political restrictions on the TRNC, only Turkish planes can fly there. But I believe that the days that there would be international flights are not far away,” said Erdogan, whose plane was the first to land at the reopened airport Thursday.