Senior Turkish officials on Saturday condemned the remarks by Mustafa Akinci, the leader of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), in a British daily.
The condemnations came after Akinci talked to The Guardian about the long-standing reunification efforts in Cyprus island.
“If this failed to happen, he [Akinci] said, the north [TRNC] would grow increasingly dependent on Ankara and could end up being swallowed up, as a de facto Turkish province,” The Guardian cited Akinci as saying.
Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter: “I condemn the remarks that target Republic of Turkey which stands with TRNC in all conditions and protect its rights and interests.”
Mustafa Akıncı’nın yapmış olduğu açıklamalar oturduğu makama yakışmayacak ifadelerdir. Her şartta Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti’nin yanında olan, hak ve menfaatlerini koruyan Türkiye Cumhuriyeti için kullanılan ifadeleri kınıyorum.
— Fuat Oktay (@fuatoktay) February 8, 2020
It will not be tolerated to use Turkey as “a tool of election campaign” with political approaches lack of vision, he stressed.
Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also strongly condemned Akinci’s remarks, which he said reflect Akinci’s concern for personal survival.
Altun said in a written statement that Akinci does not deserve to sit on the chair of presidency, which had cost the lives of Turkish Cypriots and Turkish soldiers.
“Turkey has no designs on the soil of any country and it will not tolerate Turkish soil being made benefits available to anybody,” he warned.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul criticized Akinci’s remarks on Turkey, as well, which he said hurt the ancestors and martyrs.
“Ankara will continue to stand by Turkish Cypriot as it has done so far,” he said.
TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar joined Turkish officials in condemning Akinci’s remarks.
“That Akinci criticizes Turkey via claims not existing is a wrong behavior with the aim of winning the election,” he said in a written statement.
Tatar said Turkish Cypriots will punish Akinci by not voting in favor of him in the presidential election slated for on April 26.
Tatar stressed that TRNC and Turkey will always be in close and friendly cooperation to solve the Cyprus issue.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at annexation of Cyprus by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest, held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. — came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.