Greece and Turkey engaged in a spat on Thursday over remarks made by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias earlier in the week that a solution of the Cyprus problem must include, as preconditions, the abolition of the “anachronistic” system of guarantees and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island.
Kotzias also said that wide speculation that officers stationed in the occupied part of the island were involved in last month’s failed coup attempt in Turkey only added credence to the Greek demand.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry described his remarks as unfortunate and said that the system of guarantees is what allowed Turkey to send its troops to the island in 1974 in the wake of an Athens-backed coup.
The Greek Foreign Ministry responded that the very presence of Turkish troops on the island are a source of “instability, insecurity and problems for all of the island’s residents.”
As part of the system of guarantees established when Cyprus gained its independence in 1960, Greece, Turkey and Great Britain were made guarantor powers of the new state.