Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday for a two-day official visit. He has said that he will deliver “good news” in a state of disengagement.
But this visit may also further exacerbate tensions with the Greek Cypriots and the European Union over the divided Eastern Mediterranean islands, because Turkey’s ambitions in the region and its support for a two-State solution to the Cyprus dispute are already high.
On Tuesday, Erdogan will participate in an event commemorating the 47th anniversary of Turkish military intervention-seen as a Greek Cypriot invasion-on the island and will speak at a special session of the Northern Cyprus Parliament.
“I hope we can deliver the message in the best possible way and establish world peace for the island and the world through ceremonies. [in Northern Cyprus],” he said in a speech on Friday.
“We have taken a good step. We have completed the preliminary study,” the Turkish president said, but did not provide any further details on the issue.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey conducted military intervention in response to a brief coup backed by Greece. Turkey stated that it was acting in accordance with a guarantee treaty signed when the Republic of Cyprus was established in 1960, which allowed Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom to intervene in disputes.
Since the establishment of TRNC in 1983, the North has been described by the UN Security Council as the “occupied part of Cyprus”. Only Turkey recognizes the so-called TRNC as an independent country.
The Republic of Cyprus, which controls the southern part of the island and has a Greek Cypriot government, became a member of the European Union in 2004.
The repeated diplomatic measures taken for decades to end disputes have all failed.
A meeting initiated by the United Nations in Geneva last April failed to bring about an agreement between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders to resume negotiations that had stalled in 2017. The Turkish Cypriots backed by Ankara to push for the settlement of the Geneva dispute between the two countries will only increase tensions.
The Greek Cypriot side and the entire international community support the federal solution.
Mensur Akgun, professor of international relations at Istanbul Cultural University, said that Erdogan is expected to strongly emphasize his support for the settlement of the island dispute between the two countries during his visit.
“Turkey has gradually changed its position from a federal solution on the island to a two-state solution because after decades of negotiations, the dispute cannot be resolved on the grounds of the former,” he told Al Jazeera.
“However, Turkey has not yet proposed a road map to persuade the international community and the Greek Cypriots to turn in this direction,” Akgun said, adding that this should be the next step for Turkey.
European Commission President Ursula von der Lein said on Thursday that the EU “will never accept” the two countries’ proposal to resolve the Cyprus problem.
During his visit to the island, Von der Lein said: “I want to reiterate that we will never accept a two-state solution. We are unwavering and united in this regard. This is what Cyprus can look forward to.”
“The most valuable part is the unity of the European Union and the knowledge that all 26 member states at the European level stand by your side,” she said with President Nicos Anastasiades.
Akgon said that in order to persuade the world to accept the two-state solution, Ankara should promote Northern Cyprus to become an independent entity and treat de facto countries equally.
“It should also start talking with the Greek Cypriot side and offer them something to convince them [agreeing to] A two-state solution,” he added.
During his visit to Northern Cyprus, Erdogan will visit the abandoned beach resort of Varosha, as he did in November 2020, where Greek Cypriot residents fled during the Turkish invasion in 1974.
During his visit to the island in November, Erdogan went to Varosha and said that the area would be reopened to the public, and that the Greek Cypriots would be able to apply to the Turkish Cypriot Committee and the Real Estate Committee for their rights in the area. Property has rights. take.
Turkey also has differences with Greece, another EU member state, over energy resources and jurisdiction in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Last year, as Turkish ships explored for hydrocarbons in the area, these countries were on the verge of military confrontation.
Erdogan has repeatedly stated that under the opposition of Greece and the European Union, Turkey will not stop its exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Follow Umut Uras on Twitter @Um_Uras