Erdogan announces new presidential complex in northern Cyprus

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the Turkish Cypriot Parliament, in Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 19, 2021. Erdogan is in the Turkish northern breakaway part of Cyprus for a two-day visit.(Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday accused the Greek side of ethnically divided Cyprus of not wanting a proper solution to the island’s ongoing problems while announcing the construction of a new presidential complex and parliament building in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The Turkish president made the remarks during a speech he delivered at Turkish Cypriot Parliament in Nicosia, where he arrived for a two-day visit, Sözcü newspaper reported.

“Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are continuing a positive agenda,” Erdoğan said, adding that it was the Greek side, which left talks in July 2017, in a move that shows they “do not want a solution.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.

Numerous diplomatic efforts to unify the Mediterranean island have failed. The political leaders of Cyprus met in Geneva in late April to seek common ground for resuming formal talks, along with representatives from Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom – the three guarantor powers of the island, under the auspices of the United Nations.

But the talks stalled over a demand by Turkey and the self-styled TRNC for international recognition for the northern third of the island.

Erdoğan on Monday reiterated Turkey’s support for a two-state solution on the island, noting that the Greek side was “pretending to defend a federation on the island.’’

​​“Talks that have been ongoing for over 50 years have failed to reach any result, despite all of the good will and constructive efforts of the Turkish side,’’ Erdoğan said, adding that the Greek side had continuously denied sharing power and welfare with the Cypriot Turks, who were equal partners on the island.

Erdoğan also said the TRNC lacked a proper presidential complex or parliament.

We do not find this to be befitting of the TRNC,’’ Erdoğan said, noting that the current presidential complex was a British shanty house.

”All of the initial project works for the presidential complex have been completed, we will soon begin construction,’’ Erdoğan said.