Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday that his country defends the “usurped rights of Turkish Cypriots”, Anadolu Agency reported.
The top Turkish diplomat’s statement came during the 13th Ambassadors Conference in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The event was attended by the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar.
Cavusoglu said that Turkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have gone through numerous rounds of negotiations to resolve the Cyprus conflict in the past and that the Greek Cypriot side has refused all proposed solutions.
He stressed the importance of recognising Turkish Cypriots’ right to sovereignty and equality before entering any new rounds of negotiations.
New negotiations will not be between two societies – the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots – but between two sovereign states, he added.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the European Union in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.
Since the collapse of UN-sponsored talks to unify Cyprus, which were held in Geneva in 2017, no official negotiations have been held to resolve the conflict.