Just two weeks after the EU threatened Turkey with sanctions over its violation of Cyprus’ sovereignty in its Exclusive Economic Zone, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu are issuing thinly veiled threats of military action against the EU member-state.
“What the Greek Cypriots do is of no importance to us. If they dare they will receive the fitting response as they did in the past,” Cavusoglu told TRT state television, alluding to the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus following a short-lived coup organised by the junta in Greece against then president Makarios.
“All our steps are in line with international law. Only Turkey decides what it will do in its [own] continental shelf. It is the duty of Turkey as a guarantor power to protect the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [sic] and of the Turkish-Cypriot people,” he added.
The TRNC is the illegal occupation regime in occupied Cyprus set up by Ankara in 1983 and still recognised only by Turkey.
The Republic of Cyprus has said that a proportional amount of the island’s gas and oil wealth will be set aside for the Turkish-Cypriots pending a settlement – which in countless UN decision must be a demilitarised bi-zonal bi-communal federation.
The EU admitted all of Cyprus in 2004 and according to the Accession Treaty (2003) the community acquis (EU laws and regulations) is suspended in occupied Cyprus pending a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Erdogan’s threats of force in Mediterranean
Cavusoglu’s remarks came straight on the heels of Erdogan’s thinly veiled threats of force against Cyprus in remarks to journalist on his return flight from China on 2 July.
“We are taking the necessary steps within the law, and we will try to continue as such. But if we come up against unlawful actions, we know how to speak the language, whichever they speak. It is unacceptable that those who have no legal rights there try to acquire gains,” Erdogan declared, as quoted by Hurriyet Daily News.
Erdogan blasts EU
“The Greek Cyprus administration, whose entrance to the European Union is shady, is trying to intimidate the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] with the power it gets [from the EU],” Erdogan added.
“The EU also is not acting honestly. The TRNC was the victim of a grave injustice when southern Cyprus was included in the EU although it said ‘no’ in [a 2004] referendum [to a peace plan], while Northern Cyprus was excluded although it said ‘yes.’ And the EU has not paid the funds it should have to Northern Cyprus. How can we trust the EU? They are not honest.”