Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has lashed out against comments by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing Cyprus’s “shameful” use of its flag to represent the entire island and its disregard of the breakaway state in Turkish-occupied territory, saying that statements coming out of Ankara were fueled by a “might is right” attitude.
“There is no Turkish republic in northern Cyprus. There is an invasion and occupation. There is no state entity. No one disputes this,” Pavlopoulos said, saying that the Greeks are not demanding anything from Turkey, but will not make any concessions when it comes to international law.
“Whoever thinks that international law is the law of the powerful is making a mistake,” he said.
Erdogan’s comments followed last week’s breakdown in UN-backed reunification talks in Switzerland between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Apart from his remarks about Cyprus on Tuesday, the Turkish leader has repeatedly criticized the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, which set the borders between Greece and Turkey, as “unfair,” putting a strain on relations between the two countries.
Pavlopoulos, however, insisted that Greek-Turkish differences must also be of concern to Europe.
“We are defending Europe, its prestige and its sovereignty,” he said, adding that Europe should “realize that when we [Greece] defend our national issues, we are also defending Europe’s [interests].
“The threats issued concern not just our country but Europe as well.”
For his part, Anastasiades said that Erdogan’s comments were “unacceptable” and undermine the climate of trust needed to make progress in negotiations to reunify Cyprus.