Turkey will never tolerate usurpation of Turkish Cypriots’ rights, defence minister says

Ankara will never tolerate a usurpation of the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots with a fait accompli and those who attempt to test Turkey’s strength will pay a heavy price, the Turkish defence minister said on Thursday in Cyprus, Sabah newspaper reported

Minister Hulusi Akar visited Cyprus for a ceremony marking the 55th anniversary of what Turkish Cypriots commemorate as the Erenkoy resistance and the Greek Cypriots call the bombing of the region of Tylliria. He arrived the island one day before a crucial meeting between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı.

The minister said Turkey hoped for a peaceful resolution both in Cyprus and in the eastern Mediterranean, where tensions have escaped over potentially rich hydrocarbon resources. 

“We hope that all relevant parties, especially the Greek Cypriots, understand our conciliatory and sincere approach and respond in kind," Akar said, adding that Turkey would always protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots as a guarantor country. 

“A usurpation of those (Turkish Cypriots’) with a fait accompli will never be allowed,” the minister said. “Our determination and will should be clearly understood,” he said, adding that the Greek Cypriot side should not see Turkey’s demand for peace as a weakness. 

“We have always said in every chance that our strength, force should not be tested, that it would have a heavy price,” he said.

Greek daily Kathimerini said Akar’s remarks were “seen as a bid by Ankara to amp up the pressure on Anastasiades ahead of Friday’s meeting with Akıncı.

Anastasiades and Akıncı met on Friday under the auspices of the United Nations Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar. 

The two leaders had a sincere and constructive conversation and discussed in depth the basic principles for peace efforts in Cyprus, the UN said in a written statement. The leaders expressed determination to finalise terms of reference that would unable structures and result-oriented negotiations and decided to announce their readiness to hold a tripartite meeting with the UN secretary-general next month.