NNA - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday peace talks on the future of ethnically divided Cyprus can take place only between "the two states" on the Mediterranean island, in comments sure to further annoy Greek Cypriots and the EU.
Turkish Cypriot officials also announced plans for the potential resettlement of a small part of the now abandoned Greek Cypriot suburb of Varosha on the island's east coast.
That move too is likely to infuriate Greek Cypriots as essentially staking ownership over an area the United Nations says should be placed under the control of peacekeepers.
"A new negotiation process (to heal Cyprus' division) can only be carried out between the two states. We are right and we will defend our right to the end," Erdogan said in a speech in the divided Cypriot capital of Nicosia.
He was marking the anniversary of a Turkish invasion on July 20, 1974, days after a Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. The island has remained split ever since into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north.
Greek Cypriots, who represent Cyprus internationally and are backed by the European Union, reject a two-state deal for the island which would accord sovereign status to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state that only Ankara recognises.
Decked out in red-and-white Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags, the celebratory mood in north Nicosia on Tuesday stood in stark contrast with a sombre mood in the south, where Greek Cypriots were woken by air raid sirens marking the day Turkish forces landed 47 years ago. --- Reuters