Turkish undermining of Cypriot peace process met with international condemnation

NICOSIA / ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan travelled to Northern Cyprus to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Turkish invasion that divided the island in two.

Northern Cyprus, officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is a de facto state that comprises the northeastern portion of the island of Cyprus. Recognized only by Turkey, Northern Cyprus is considered by all other states to be part of the Republic of Cyprus.

During his visit, Erdoğan announced the reopening of the city of Varosha, abandoned by Greek residents for nearly 50 years, transferring control of the beachfront town from the control of the Turkish Army to civilian control.

This announcement angered the government of the Republic of Cyprus which said the move violates United Nations resolutions guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus lodged a complaint with the United Nations and the European Union in this regard.

A statement by the Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said that the European Union’s Foreign Policy Coordinator Josep Borrell will send a letter to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken issued a statement expressing the U.S.’s condemnation of Erdoğan’s announcement, adding that Washington considers this a provocative and unacceptable step.

“This step is inconsistent with the commitments made by the Turkish Cypriots in the past to participate in a constructive manner in peace talks,” Blinken added, calling on the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to retract the decision.

He also stressed the efforts of the U.S. and its like-minded partners to refer this troubling situation to the UNSC and called for a strong response.