Erdogan: Cyprus is Turkey’s National Cause

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara won’t allow Turkish Cypriots to become victims of failed attempts at a peace deal or to be reduced to a minority in a Greek Cypriot-dominated state.

Erdogan was in Cyprus on Tuesday to meet with the leader of the island nation’s breakaway Turkish side, Mustafa Akinci.

In a joint press conference with Akinci, he said: “We will never allow the Turkish Cypriots to become minorities in a Greek Cypriot state.”

“Cyprus is our national cause. Our goal is to find a just and lasting solution on Cyprus,” he stressed.

He said the mindset of Greek Cypriots remains unchanged from when the latest effort to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus collapsed a year ago.

“Greek Cypriots still think of themselves as the island’s sole owners,” he added.

Erdogan said Turkish Cypriots won’t participate in another open-ended peace process and he plans to explain that to a United Nations official who will visit Cyprus later this month to scope out chances for restarting reunification negotiations.

Erdogan’s trip to Northern Cyprus is his second state visit since his inauguration Monday to a second term, under Turkey’s new presidential system of government, continuing the tradition of Turkey’s leaders first visiting Azerbaijan and Cyprus after taking office.