Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan caused a storm on Friday with suggestions that the enclave of Kokkina should be joined onto Morphou and given to the Turkish Cypriots in exchange for the fenced-off town of Varosha.
“If you want to open the whole of Famagusta for Greek Cypriots, we have a proposal: let’s join the area between Kokkina and Morphou and keep this area under Turkish Cypriot control and return open Varosha and closed-off Varosha,” he said.
“You cannot ask for all, for Rizokarpaso, this place, that place,” he added.
Speaking in Turkey after Friday prayers Erdogan said there could be no guarantee system without Turkey.
“Don’t expect a guarantee scheme that does not include Turkey. We are there forever,” he said.
“It is out of question for the Turkish troops to withdraw completely.” However, he added, “If that is the thought”, then both sides should completely withdraw troops.”
The Turkish Cypriot side worked intensively, he said but the Greek Cypriots and Greece “have different expectations”, said Erdogan.
As regards the rotating presidency, the Turkish president said that a 1:4 term ratio in favour of the Greek Cypriots was unfair, saying that for every one term undertaken by the Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriot should be entitled to two.
Below is a translation of Erdogan’s full remarks made by Esra Aygin and posted on Facebook.
“North Cyprus is working intensely and demonstrating sincerity. South Cyprus and guarantor power Greece have different expectations. For example, security and guarantees. We clearly told them. Don’t expect a guarantee scheme that does not include Turkey.
We are there forever. Secondly, in security, there was a previously agreed number, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should have equal number of troops; Greece 950 and us 650. This should continue. It is out of question for the Turkish troops to withdraw completely… If that is the thought, then both sides should completely withdraw troops.
For example, you know there is open Varosha, closed-off Varosha, and Kokkina (Erenkoy), the area between Kokkina and Morphou. Both Mr. Akinci and I told them clearly; if you want to open the whole of Famagusta for Greek Cypriots (he means Famagusta including Varosha being returned) we have a proposal: Let’s join the area between Kokkina and Morphou and keep this area under Turkish Cypriot control and return open Varosha and closed-off Varosha. You cannot ask for all, for Rizokarpaso, this place, that place…
The one to four ratio is unacceptable: the Greek Cypriot side to hold presidency for four terms while the Turkish Cypriot side holds it for only one term.
We talked about this. It should be one to two. Turkish Cypriot side can hold the presidency for one term and the Greek Cypriot side can hold it for two terms. This is the fair solution.”