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Backlash in the north over citizenship comments by Turkey’s Cavusoglu during visit

turkish fm cavusoglu attends a news conference in antalya
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Comments made by Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on issues of ‘TRNC’ citizenship during a visit to the north were met by resistance by various members of society in the north on Tuesday.

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Avrupa, the youth wing of the Socialist Democracy Party (TDP) in the north slammed the statements made by Cavusoglu on the issue of granting ‘TRNC citizenship’ to all those who apply for it, describing it as unacceptable.

In a statement issued by the TDP’s youth wing, it said they will never accept such a thing, in response to Cavusoglu’s statements made in Lapitho in the presence of the ‘interior minister’, Ziya Ozturkler, the Press and Information Office (PIO) reported.

The party’s youth group called on the Turkish foreign minister to “know his limits, and for Ozturkler to resign,” the newspaper noted.

Meanwhile, according to the same newspaper, the secretary general of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Guild (KTÖS), Burak Mavis, in a written statement, accused Cavusoglu of using “dichotomous rhetoric” during his visit, and argued that his visit was not innocent.

Cavusoglu on Monday reaffirmed Turkey’s support for a two-state solution.

Cavusoglu had been speaking to representatives from 22 non-governmental organisations in Lapithos as part of a three-day visit to the north, where he also held meetings with Turkish Cypriot officials, including leader Ersin Tatar.

Describing his meeting with Tatar as constructive, Cavusoglu told Turkish media that sovereign equality must be guaranteed before negotiations on the Cyprus issue can resume.

“Negotiations are possible between equals, otherwise they do not make sense,” he said. “We have experienced this for 54 years. We do not have another 50 years to waste.”

Referring to the joint efforts between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to promote a two-state solution, he called on the EU, which in his view favours the Greek Cypriot side, “to acknowledge the will of Turkish Cypriots”.

In Lapithos, Cavusoglu expressed solidarity towards Turkish Cypriots, saying that the Turkish Republic and the Turkish people never abandoned them. “Therefore we will overcome everything together. The important thing is to dismantle the plans that have been set up in Cyprus,” he said.

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