European Council President Michel: Erdogan’s Cyprus remarks unnecessarily increase tension in the region

NICOSIA — During a visit to Northern Cyprus, occupied by Turkey for 47 years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the progress of negotiations on the island was linked to a two-state solution, a statement at odds with longstanding U.N. resolutions which was widely criticized.

President of the European Council Charles Michel said that Erdogan’s remarks about the beachfront town of Varosha, abandoned since the conflict in the 1970s, raise tensions in the region. Michel explained that Erdogan’s proposal for a two-state solution on the island is never up for discussion, stressing that these statements create confusion and provoke tensions.

In a statement, the U.N. Security Council condemned Turkey’s plan to partially reopen Varosha and called for the immediate cancellation of all steps taken in Varosha, stressing the need to stop any moves that might escalate tensions on the island.

Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs at the State Department, said she was concerned about Erdogan’s remarks during a recent Senate hearing.

“We think only a Cypriot-led process — bizonal, bicommunal — will bring peace and stability in Cyprus,” she stated, adding that State Department officials had called their Turkish counterparts and urged them to reverse course.