Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan fired on the Greek Cypriot side on Tuesday night saying they continue to see themselves as the sole proprietors of the island, which was the cause of the failure of the Conference on Cyprus a year ago.
Following his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in the north, Erdogan said: “Cyprus is a national issue for us. Our goal is to find a just and permanent solution. For the last 50 years, we have been making every effort.”
However, he noted that the conference on Cyprus a year ago was a failure, due to the fact that the Greek Cypriot side continues to see itself as the sole proprietor of the island and it is not up to sharing political power with the Turkish Cypriots, in order to create a partnership based on political equality.
“That mentality has not changed at all in a year,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish President added that the Greek Cypriots are not looking towards a common future with the Turkish Cypriots.
Regarding the economy in the north, Erdogan noted that the goal for Ankara is to turn the north into a hub in the Eastern Mediterranean and to double the per capita income.
“We were, we are, and we will continue to be at the side of the Turkish Cypriots,” Erdogan said, noting the water pipeline connection with Turkey in the north. The Turkish President added that the pipeline bringing water to the north brought many economic benefits to the area.
The water pipeline started pumping water to a dam in Panagra in the north in 2015. The pipeline is estimated to transfer approximately 75 million cubic metres per year.
Also speaking at the press conference, the Turkish Cypriot leader said that they are in need of Turkey’s support, as the community is “unjustly isolated from the international community.”
Akinci also reiterated his position on the exploitation of the island’s natural reserves, noting that the logical choice for natural gas transfer is with a pipeline that runs through Turkey. “Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriot administration is maintaining the position of abstention from cooperation,” he said.
With Ankara’s support, he said, the north will not abandon its rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Regarding Jane Hol Lute’s visit on July 23, Akinci said that he would express his readiness to find a just solution, so that all could live with equality, security and freedom on the island.
“We hope that the Greek Cypriot side will be in a position to contribute to a solution that includes the just sharing of power and riches.”
The Turkish President was welcomed earlier in the evening, where supporters met him at the airport. Upon his arrival at the ‘presidential palace’ he was welcomed with a 21-gun salute.
Erdogan also met with other Turkish Cypriot politicians and the ‘prime minister’ Tufan Erhuman.