Anti-Erdogan protest as Turkish president visits Cyprus

Demonstration as Turkish president speaks in divided state’s Parliament

Dozens of protesters gathered in the village of Deryneia in eastern Cyprus on Monday as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke in the divided state’s Parliament.

The village is 2 kilometres away from Turkish-controlled Famagusta, in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the divided island nation.

Demonstrators called for a reunification of Cyprus while Mr Erdogan said that the only route to peace was the international community’s acceptance of two separate states on the East Mediterranean island.

He made the comments to Turkish Cypriot politicians in the north before celebrations to mark the 47th anniversary of a Turkish invasion that split the island along ethnic lines.

Turkey’s 1974 invasion came after a Greek junta-backed coup aimed at union with Greece. Only Turkey recognises the Turkish-Cypriot declaration of independence. It has 35,000 troops there.

In a 1983 resolution, the UN Security Council denounced the Turkish Cypriots’ secessionist move as legally invalid and called for its withdrawal. The EU has also ruled out a two-state deal.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Nicosia this month that the 27 member-bloc, which Cyprus joined in 2004, would “never, ever” accept such an arrangement.

But Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots say a two-state deal is the only way to peace because nearly five decades of negotiations based on forging a federation have led nowhere.

They blame Greek Cypriots’ unwillingness to “accept the realities” and see Turkish Cypriots as “equal partners".

Cyprus’s internationally recognised government in the island’s Greek Cypriot south says there can be no deviation from a 1977 deal to reach a formal peace accord by negotiating a federation of a Turkish Cypriot and a Greek Cypriot zone.

But most Greek Cypriots object to Turkey’s demand for a permanent military presence on the island amid fears that it would turn it into Ankara’s “protectorate".

Updated: July 19th 2021, 9:52 PM