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Tatar denies reports of Christodoulides being invited to Turkey

greek pm mitsotakis and turkish president erdogan attend a press conference in athens
Erdogan and Mitsotakis in Athens two weeks ago

Turkish Cypriot Leader Ersin Tatar on Monday denied reports that President Nikos Christodoulides had been invited to Turkey by the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Tatar made the comments to reporters following an unannounced trip to Istanbul to meet Erdogan on Sunday. The pair met alongside Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and the north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel at Erdogan’s office at the Dolmabahce palace.

News of the meeting was not made public until after the fact, when Tatar posted a video of himself alongside Erdogan.

Tatar subsequently spoke to reporters, and was asked about swirling rumours that Erdogan had invited Christodoulides to meet him in Turkey.

He said he had asked Erdogan about the rumours, and that Erdogan had flatly denied them. “No such invitation had been made,” Tatar said.

“I don’t think such a meeting would be possible.”

Reporters also asked Tatar about the lack of forewarning about the meeting.

“Maybe the meeting took place quickly, but we had sent a request for a meeting. We were expecting it to take place after Erdogan met [Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis in Greece,” Tatar said.

He added that he was “very happy” that the meeting took place and described it as “very productive”.

He went on to say that the Cyprus problem did not “dominate” the meeting’s agenda, but that it was discussed. He said that he had reaffirmed with Erdogan a commitment to a “policy based on political equality and two states”.

Additionally, he said they had spoken about the planned electricity cable which would, if completed, connect Turkey with the north.

“Erdogan sees the … electric cable project as a very important project, just as bringing water from Turkey to the TRNC through pipes was. With the sensitivity I have seen [from Erdogan], I can say that electricity coming from Turkey via a cable or interconnector will definitely happen, and the TRNC’s electricity problem will be solved,” he said.

He also said that attempts are being made to bring the European Union round to supporting the cable’s construction, as a way of connecting the island of Cyprus to Europe’s electricity grid.

Asked whether internal political issues in the north were discussed, Tatar said Erdogan did not talk about them.

However, it was learned that Turkey’s financial support for the north was discussed at the meeting.

Ustel is expected to inform UBP ‘MPs’ and ‘MPs’ belonging to the other two coalition partners, the DP and the YDP, regarding the meeting’s details on Monday.

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