EU Leaders Should Remember Erdogan Interference in Talks
EU leaders should take careful note of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's comments that he will not give back Turkish-held Morphou and Famagusta to the Greek Cypriots who own property there.
In the future, when Erdogan says that the solution to the Cyprus problem is up to the Greek-and-Turkish Cypriots, his direct and unhelpful interference in ongoing reunification talks should be remembered.
Erdogan is visiting north Cyprus to mark the 37th anniversary of the Turkish invasion. But his comments don't change the facts. Turkey can't proceed with EU negotiations effectively until it recognises the Republic of Cyprus as the island's legitimate government. And it can't do that without a solution in Cyprus.
So, instead of stirring up anger and Turkish nationalism, Erdogan should be promoting a fair solution between the two communities. Instead of behaving like an emperor visiting his outpost, Erdogan should start behaving like a democratic leader who wants his country to develop and head for the EU. Instead of chanting his hardline slogans, Erdogan should take care of the 18% of Turkish people who are living below the poverty line. Without a better standard of living for the millions of Turkish nationals who have very little, they will keep running to the EU for a better life. Illegal immigrants from Turkey have already flooded Cyprus and threaten to overwhelm the Turkish-Cypriot community.
No matter what propaganda Erdogan spreads, the facts don't change: Turkey occupies Cyprus, Turkey is responsible for the de facto split; Turkey can't enter the EU or even open more negotiating chapters without recognising the legal government of the island.
But the biggest fact of all: no other country in the world recognises the TRNC, so essentially, Erdogan in Cyprus is an emperor without clothes or legitimacy. No matter how much rhetoric Erdogan sprays around, the facts have not changed one iota.