Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has described the Turkish military offensive in Syria as “unlawful and arbitrary.”
According to Cyprus News Agency, Anastasiades said the military campaign, dubbed by the Turks Operation Peace Spring, was “just another unlawful act, an arbitrary step towards serving Turkish interests.”
“This is just another unacceptable and arbitrary act by Turkey, which is condemned at least by our family, the EU, and I do not believe it is justified in any way,” Anastasiades told CNA.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said earlier that Operation Peace Spring aimed to eliminate threats from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and the Islamic State militants, and enable the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey after the formation of a “safe zone” in the area.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
In response, the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cyprus said in a statement on Thursday that the Turkish offensive was a gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter. It also said, according to CNA, that the military incursion would derail the political process in solving the Syrian conflict.
“We express our utter condemnation in any efforts of social engineering regarding the local population in North-East Syria. The Turkish military invasion will result in a wide-spread humanitarian tragedy and in a great increase of refugee flows,” the statement said.
Kurds protest in Nicosia
Earlier on Thursday in Nicosia, hundreds of Kurds living in the Republic Cyprus gathered outside the foreign ministry to demonstrate against the Turkish offensive.
The crowd shouted slogans against Turkey and its military incursion into Syria, while leaders of the demonstration also prepared letters to present to American and Russian embassy officials in the capital. [Kathimerini Cyprus]