Cyprus Seeks to Block Erdogan Faits Accomplis in Varosha

Jul 16, 2021

The Republic of Cyprus is working strenuously to prevent any fait accomplis that Ankara might attempt this month regarding Turkish-occupied Varosha.

The government of President Nicos Anastasiades is pulling out all the diplomatic stops in its efforts to prevent actions that would endanger the interest of Cyprus and the rights of the legal residents of the Famagusta suburb of Varosha during Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming visit to the illegally occupied territories.

At a reception hosted by the French Ambassador for Bastille Day on July 14, Cyprus’ President declared, according to the Cyprus New Agency, “we are doing everything that it is humanly possible within the framework of ‘orthodox diplomacy’ and we will be ready to react accordingly.” Regarding the people of Famagusta and how they should respond to Erdogan’s visit, CNA said Anastasiades urged them to be patient.

Kathimerini quoted him also saying “there are definitely steps being taken and what I expect is from both the United Nations and the EU to react according to Turkey’s behavior.”

“Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has been going all out on a preemptive diplomatic strike aimed at garnering support in Brussels, Washington, and the international community to stop Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from revealing ‘surprises to the world’ during a scheduled visit to the island on July 20,” Kathimerini reported.

Christodoulides was a guest this week on The Greek Current, a podcast by the Hellenic American Leadership Council in collaboration with Kathimerini. He stressed the crucial importance of stopping Erdogan from making “more provocative and illegal actions,” which he said negatively affect the interests of the United States, the EU, and the international community.

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Erdogan has focused attention on his visit to occupied Cyprus, designating July 20, the date in 1974 when Turkey launched is illegal invasion, as ‘Peace and Freedom Day’ in the context of Turkish Cypriot history.

“Erdogan said he would make a big announcement on July 20, prompting political pundits on social media to wonder whether recent visits to the north by Pakistani dignitaries could signal an attempt by the Islamic Republic to establish diplomatic relations with a Turkish Cypriot administration currently recognized by no other country except Turkey,” Kathimerini reported.”

Christodoulides has said, “we are using all available means, which are diplomatic, political, and legal means in order to stop Turkey.” He was in Brussels this week, where he had meetings with other foreign ministers, including from France, which is Security Council president in July, as well as those of Egypt and India, which is Pakistan’s chief rival.

CNA noted that the Egyptian foreign minister “praised the role of Cyprus in the region,” while also referring to the “destabilizing role of Turkey.”

Relations between Egypt and Turkey collapsed in 2014 when Erdogan questioned the legitimacy of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was an army general when he overthrew pro-Muslim Brotherhood government, a radical Islamic group with strong support in Turkey.

Christodoulides has stated that provocative actions by Erdogan in Varosha would have a negative impact on the Middle East.

In the podcast, he said, “if the international community is perceived by Turkey as weak or [in]decisive in its response, Ankara will see no reason to backtrack from implementing its planning in relation to Varosha … so what’s important now is to act … before Mr. Erdogan comes to Cyprus, before July 20, in order, as I told you, to stop Mr. Erdogan from proceeding with more provocations,” Kathimerini reported.

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Christodoulides has been in communication with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. His message to both was, “we act now, preventatively, so as not to find ourselves before a situation that is irreversible.”

On the podcast Christodoulides said, “we cannot allow Mr. Erdogan to deliver on his promises to announce, as he called it, ‘surprises to the world’ during his upcoming illegal visit to the occupied part of Cyprus.”

Christodoulides said he wants Cyprus’ allies “to send now a clear message of decisiveness from the international community.”

Cyprus’ efforts have strong support in Washington, where U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) were joined by Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden condemning Turkey’s continuing efforts to open the coastline of Varosha, Cyprus in contravention of several United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions and in defiance of recent calls from the UNSC and the European Council to immediately reverse course.

July 20 a dark anniversary for Cypriots, is the ocassion for an important conference. On the very day of Erdogan’s visit, the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus, PSEKA, hosts the 36th Annual Cyprus & Hellenic Leadership Conference, titled Strengthening U.S.-Cyprus Relations in the Face of Turkish Intransigence at 11 AM EDT, via Zoom.

The event, co-hosted by AHEPA, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations, and the Hellenic American National Council of North America, features Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and over 30 key U.S. policy makers.

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Published at www.thenationalherald.com