Cyprus Mail

Greek minister: half of Cyprus is Turkish

Greek Shipping Minister Christos Stylianides

Greek Shipping Minister Christos Stylianides caused controversy on Tuesday evening when he said, “half of Cyprus is Turkish”.

Stylianides, who is originally Cypriot, was speaking in Greece’s parliament regarding a rumoured Cypriot candidacy for the position of secretary-general of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in light of Greece’s decision to back a Turkish candidate for the role.

It is understood that Greece is backing the Turkish candidacy in exchange for Turkey supporting Greece’s candidacy to sit on the United Nations’ Security Council.

Stylianides told the Greek parliament that Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides had never made such an application for a Cypriot running for the IMO position, with Christodoulides having said last year that Cyprus would have “no issue” if a Turkish candidate was elected as the IMO’s secretary-general.

“There has never been any disagreement on the part of the Cypriot presidency regarding the Greek government’s handling [of the matter]. We are talking about the battles Hellenism is facing,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to be a [Cypriot] government representative in a period in which I helped Hellenism fight its biggest battle, for Cyprus to join the European Union. There was absolute harmony in all the actions we carried out,” he said. Stylianides is a former Cyprus government spokesman and health commissioner for the European Commission.

“If some are implying another type of battle like the battles fought by the junta in which half of Cyprus was lost, then I am against it. Because I grew up [with the] Green Line and I know what it means for battles to be fought just for the sake of fake battles.

“Because Hellenism has no more margin [for error] in Cyprus. Half of Cyprus is already Turkish,” he said.

The statement drew the ire of some opposition politicians, with far-right Greek Solution party MP Kostas Hitas saying he had been “left speechless” by Stylianides’ remarks. Left wing Course of Freedom party leader Zoe Konstantopoulou also demanded the statement be retracted.

Stylianides then moved to clarify his position, saying “this position, in exactly the same words, has been put forth many times in the Cypriot parliament without garnering any reactions.

Some thought that I had ceded half of Cyprus to Turkey, for God’s sake. Those who know me know how I fight for my homeland,” he said.

Despite his clarification, he did not escape the choler of Diko leader Nikolas Papadopoulos, who, in a post on X, said Stylianides’ statements were “unacceptable. Unacceptable twice because he said what he said in the Greek parliament.”

Later on Wednesday, Edek joined in.

“Half of Cyprus is not Turkish, Mr Stylianides, and we will not allow it to be Turkified through the ‘solutions’ you favour,” the party said.

“The phrase uttered by Stylianides is not surprising, since his political history is known,” they added, pointing to “his frantic effort to propagandise for the passage of the Annan Plan in 2004”.

It is obvious that his innermost opinions were made public, confirming the ancient saying; ‘latent language tells the truth’.”




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