Preparations are under way in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus in anticipation of the July 20 visit by Turkey’s president, with sources confirming that Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to use the visit as a platform to promote his government’s nationalist and religious agenda.
Coinciding with the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, the timing of the visit indicates as much, as does the fact that Erdogan will be accompanied by a large delegation of government, AK Party and other officials, including the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli.
During his visit, the Turkish president is expected to make announcements concerning Ankara’s plans for Varosha, the fenced-off southern quarter of the city of Famagusta in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, but also for the establishment of a base on the island for Turkish military drones.
Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who has rejected the possibility of Cyprus’ reunification, hailed the July 20 visit as an important day, marking the “47th anniversary of the Cyprus ‘peace operation’,” as he referred to the 1974 invasion.
On Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reiterated the European Union’s firm position that it will never accept a two-state solution for Cyprus.