Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Friday reportedly warned that Turkey and its armed forces are ready to do “what is necessary” to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, like 45 years ago when they carried out the ‘peace operation’ (1974 invasion), are close to the Turkish Cypriots and are determined to defend their rights and interests,” he stated.
Akar also reiterated Ankara’s rejection of calls by Cyprus and Greece for a scrapping of the system of guarantees that were established when the island gained independence from Britain in 1960.
In translated comments published in Greek media on Friday, Akar reportedly said on Thursday that the effort to get rid of Turkish guarantees was “futile.”
Greece and Britain were also designated as guarantor powers for Cyprus.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and occupied its northern part. It also claims that it has rights to the island’s reserves oil, gas and natural gas.