World Bulletin / News Desk
Mustafa Akinci was addressing a commemoration in the TRNC capital Lefkosa to mark the 43rd anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 intervention into the Cyprus conflict as a guarantor power.
The anniversary falls not long after UN-backed talks in Switzerland failed to find a solution to the decades-long Cyprus dispute.
“It is not fair that Turkish Cypriot people live under embargoes due to the Greek Cypriot side’s unwillingness,” Akinci added.
Akinci also blamed the Greek Cypriot side for the failure of the talks in Switzerland.
He said a Greek Cypriot demand for “zero troops and zero guarantees” could not be accepted.
Thousands of Turkish troops are stationed in Northern Cyprus to maintain the security of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, TRNC Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, and Parliament Speaker Sibel Siber, as well as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also attended the ceremony at the Ataturk Memorial in Lefkosa.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a message to President Akinci said: “As always, Turkey will stand by Turkish Cypriots and maintain its support for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and will be the guarantee of stability, freedom and peace on the island of Cyprus and in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish soldiers interceded under Ankara’s guarantor status to protect the Turkish community there from unrest.
Violence broke out amid a Greek Cypriot attempt to forcibly unite Cyprus with Greece then ruled by a right-wing military junta. Turkey sent 40,000 troops -- Operation Atilla -- to the island’s north.
As a result of Greek Cypriot attacks, at least 30,000 Turkish Cypriots were displaced from their villages and much of the Turkish Cypriot population was forced to seek refuge.
After a low-key campaign, opinion polls put the conservative in the lead as he claims credit for the island's economic recovery since its debilitating financial crisis of 2013.
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