Erdoğan threatens Athens, Nicosia on Cyprus Independence Day - Kathimerini


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday issued threats to Athens and Nicosia on the 58th anniversary of the divided island’s independence from the United Kingdom, Greek Kathimerini newspaper reported.

“I have to repeat that in Cyprus and the Aegean no move can be made without Turkey,” the paper quoted Erdoğan as saying, before warning that “those that try to ignore us in this region place their existence in jeopardy.”

Turkish mainland troops invaded the north of the island in 1974 in response to a short-lived Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. The island has been divided between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north since. Tensions have been escalating between Athens and Ankara due to issues such as sovereignty over airspace and overflights and Greek Cypriot attempts to explore and exploit hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Erdoğan’s remarks follow statements by Ankara that Turkey will begin drilling for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean amid Greek Cypriot concerns that the country could be planning operations within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Kathimerini reported.

Meanwhile, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday called on the Turkish Cypriots to recognize the rights of all Cypriots, and stressed the need for mutual respect, Greek Reporter news site said.

In statement at the military parade at Nicosia to mark Cyprus’ Independence Day, Anastasiades said that while it is a day to be proud of, the anniversary should also be used to reflect on what happened in the past.

The day, he said, “Should also be a day of reflection; a day of reflection for all the Republic of Cyprus’ citizens with no exception, Greek Cypriots and Turkish.”