Greek opposition Syriza condemns Erdoğan's remarks on 'controlling' Cyprus

The Greek opposition Syriza Party condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks about controlling "all of" Cyprus made during an iftar dinner for the Turkish military personnel. Erdoğan also confirmed plans to initiate military operations in Northern Iraq and Syria during the meeting.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 18 stated that Turkey would have complete control over the Cyprus island today if it pushed into the south during the operations of 1974. The Greek main opposition Syriza condemned the remark, calling it a violation of the spirit of the recently signed Athens Convention. 

Erdoğan said, "If Turkey had not intervened (in 1974), there would be no Northern Cyrus, or no Turkish Cypriots today," during an iftar dinner held with Turkish military personnel in the Turkish capital Ankara. 

"If we had pressed forward to Southern Cyprus, all of Cyprus would be ours today," he continued. 

Greece's main opposition Syriza Party stated that Erdoğan's claims on Cyprus openly undermined the "warming relations" between the two countries.

"Turkey is violating the spirit of the Athens Convention merely three months after signing it," held the opposition party. 

Cyprus was split following a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Since then, the breakaway Turkish state on the northern side of the divided island is only recognized by Ankara.

Erdoğan made his comments in the context of the Çanakkale victory’s 109th anniversary, a significant battle of the Turkish independence war.  

In his speech, Erdoğan also promoted instilling a “martyrdom mentality”  in the youth and verified upcoming military operations at the Iraqi border.

“As we have made a name for ourselves as a ‘fighter people,’ we cannot allow to weaken our martyrdom consciousness, our fundamental characteristic,” held the President. 

Erdoğan continued with the plans for Turkey’s Iraqi border security. “We will not allow the formation of a ‘terroristan’ at our southern border,” he said. 

“We will finish what we have started in Syria,” Erdoğan said and vowed to completely secure the Iraqi border this summer.   

On March 11, online news outlet T24 reported that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had been preparing for a comprehensive operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People's Defense Units (YPG) in Northern Iraq and Syria after the local elections on March 31. 

Erdoğan is expected to visit Baghdad and Erbil after the elections. 

Following the recent Second Security Summit, the Iraq National Security Council has accepted to outlaw the PKK which has been based in northern Iraq since the 1980s. The decision was binding for the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government as well, Iraqi officials held. 

Even though the United States considers the PKK a terrorist organization, Ankara also demanded the YPG's recognition, as it defines it as a branch of the PKK.