Erdoğan reiterates Turkey’s resoluteness toward the Cyprus issue as a gurantor country
“NO SITUATION EXCEPT FOR A TWO-STATE SOLUTION IS ACCEPTABLE”
When asked what is the sine qua non for Turkey as a guarantor country regarding the resolution in the island, President Erdoğan declared that “We are not spectators in a stadium. Turkey will always have a say regarding the developments in KKTC and it will always stand by KKTC.”
The President further declared that it is not possible for Turkey to accept any options but a two-state solution regarding the Cyprus issue and said they could accept a federal structure based on that, pointing to the importance of political equality. “No one has the right to impose anything like ‘you come after us, we will be in front of you.’ We can never approach affirmatively toward such an option at all. Turkey will continue to maintain its resoluteness as a guarantor country in this regard.” Sharing his belief with his audience that KKTC will further develop and gain strength, President Erdoğan underscored the significance for the Turkish Cypriots to preserve their union and solidarity.
RE-OPENING OF THE ORTHODOX SEMINARY IN TURKEY
President Erdoğan further responded to a question as to the re-opening of the seminary and shared an anecdote, noting that a few years ago, a Greek citizen living in Gökçeada (Imbros) and working at the running AK Party center in the island told him that he was in love with a Turkish girl whom his family did not want. The President then said that he had talked to the young man’s father about why they did not allow his son to marry the Turkish girl and the answer, he said, was due to the “tradition”. President Erdoğan, saying he had learned that the other members of the family live in the US, recounted the dialogue between the father and him: “I asked him ‘why don’t you bring them back?’, he said ‘they do not want to return nor can we leave here.’ What I’m telling you this anecdote for is that our doors are open for our citizens of Greek origin. We are certain about that, but I must add that we have begun to pay the Greek, Jewish and Armenian foundations for their real estate in Turkey. We have paid almost 2 billion dollars so far. We have even returned some properties to them. About the seminary in Turkey, we have given the orphanage back to them. It is located in a beautiful place indeed. Bartholomeos and I went there together. A few years ago, they even said they would build an environmental academy at the place.”
However, the President continued, although the Greek government promised to allow Turkey when it asked for permission from it to restore two demolished mosques in Greece, no progress has been made so far.
ISSUE OF GRAND MUFTI’S ELECTION IN WESTERN THRACE
President Erdoğan further underscored that the members of the Saint Sinod Assembly must be Turkish citizens under the Treaty of Lausanne, saying: “However, there is no one left but Bartholomeos there. I suggested ‘bring here pastors and we can make them Turkish citizens, doing what is necessary according to the Treaty of Lausanne’. There are almost 20 priests whom we have made Turkish citizens. I asked them to allow for the election of the Grand Mufti in Western Thrace by the Turkish people and other muftis. Instead of holding an election, the Greek government just appoints him. Neither the international community nor the Christian world can respond to my request regarding this issue. You are asking about the re-opening of the seminary in Turkey. It is not that difficult to do that, but they must keep their promise.”
INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION OF CYPRUS ISSUE
When asked about what he thinks of the fact that when the Turkish Cypriots are at the negotiation desk, Greek leaders constantly try to address their remarks to Turkey, President Erdoğan said: “Is the Greek Cypriot administration dealing with its own issues? Do you think it does not receive signals from Greece? Do you believe they do not discuss issues with Greece, the US and even Germany? The Foreign Ministers of the US and Germany talk to the Greek administration and us about these issues. Do Prime Ministers, foreign ministers or diplomats of the international community visit KKTC? No, they don’t. They just ignore KKTC. Instead, they come visit us. We always suggest to them that they should visit that country. They insist on doing that in a buffer zone. Such an option has not worked at all so far. I hope this time it will be useful.”
“BOTH PEOPLES HAVE RIGHTS TO OIL AND NATURAL GAS TO BE EXTRACTED IN THE REGION”
President Erdoğan, when asked if he believes that the oil and natural gas to be extracted in the region will bring peace to the island, announced that the people of the whole island have rights to these resources. The people of the whole island will benefit from these resources that can be extracted, declared the President, adding that this is an international rule.