Ankara slams Papadopoulos for declaring Turkish army 'enemy'
Recent remarks made by Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos targeting the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) as "the sole enemy" of his people have sparked outrage in both the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot capitals, with Ankara describing the remarks as "unacce
Speaking at a press conference late on Tuesday, Papadopoulos, who is running in the presidential elections scheduled for February of next year, called for decreasing tension while campaigning. "We should protect our unity, which is the most precious ground of our struggle. We don't have enemies among us. There is only one enemy, and that is the Turkish invasion army," Papadopoulos was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
It is obvious that Papadopoulos still can't comprehend the nature of the relations between Turkey and the divided island, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman told reporters on Wednesday at a weekly press briefing.
"I suppose he seems to have forgotten that Turkey is a guarantor country with Britain and Greece, that Turkey is at the same time motherland and that the presence of the TSK on the island is based on international agreements and thus is legal. It should be brought to mind that declaring the TSK an enemy on the island doesn't serve peace at all. The TSK being targeted like this is unacceptable. Papadopoulos needs to understand this by any means," Bilman added.
The four-decade-old Cyprus problem erupted after the eastern Mediterranean island was granted independence from Britain in 1960, soon followed by an outbreak of inter-communal clashes in 1963. The island has been ethnically divided between a Greek south and Turkish north since the Turkish military intervened in 1974 under the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee when diplomacy failed to end unrest on the island. In addition to the Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces Command (KTBK), made up of 4,500 Turkish Cypriots, there are around 35,000 Turkish troops stationed on the island. Ankara says the Turkish troops are there within the framework of Turkey's guarantor rights stemming from the Treaty of Guarantee.
"The one who considers the Turkish army as the enemy is also the one who considers Turkish Cypriots to be enemies," Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said in Lefkoşa on Wednesday in response to Papadopoulos' remarks.
Papadopoulos' efforts to preserve enmity between the two peoples on the island is not surprising considering his long-time attempts at "enosis" (union with Greece) as a founding member of the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA), Soyer stressed. "Because it was both the democratic social resistance of the Turkish Cypriot people and the fact that Turkey has been there for the Turkish Cypriot people, which prevented his raw and inappropriate dream from becoming real," he said.
A Greek Cypriot campaign of annihilation of Turkish Cypriots across Cyprus was revealed by the Greek Cypriot Patris newspaper in 1966 as the "Akritas Plan." The plan was aimed at "enosis," and the EOKA initiated a guerilla campaign on April 1, 1955 with the intention of making the island Greek. In 2004, a former member of the EOKA confessed in remarks to the media that the EOKA, along with Greek Cypriot soldiers, had raped women and killed men in a Turkish Cypriot village during attacks on the Turkish population of Cyprus.
Soyer called on Papadopoulos to "not go against the tide," as policies based on "enosis" have always brought blood and tears for both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot peoples, and urged him to present at once determination for reaching a comprehensive resolution to the Cyprus issue.
This summer Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis insisted that the key to the Cyprus issue is in the hands of the Turkish military and not in those of Turkish Cyprus' political leadership or the Turkish government.
Today's Zaman Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2007, 11:51