"There are two peoples and two separate states in Cyprus... there must be talks for a solution on the basis of two separate states," Turkey's President Erdogan says during his visit to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that talks about divided Cyprus should aim for a settlement between "two separate states", during his visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
"There are two peoples and two separate states in Cyprus," said Erdogan on Sunday. "There must be talks for a solution on the basis of two separate states."
Speaking at a ceremony on the TRNC's 37th anniversary, President Erdogan said the priority should be to ensure legitimate rights and security of Turkish Cypriots, who Erdogan said, were ignored for years with their rights usurped.
'Ghost town' reopening
On the recent reopening of the abandoned town of Maras in the city of Gazimagusa, Erdogan said this step was meant to eliminate existing grievances, not create new ones.
Cyprus remains divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north, and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece.
Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 put an end to years of persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.
The abandoned town of Maras in Gazimagusa, also known as Famagusta, partially reopened for public use on October 8.
Maras had so far been a "ghost town" to which entry was forbidden, except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
Erdogan said Turkey TRNC will no longer tolerate "diplomacy games" over rights to offshore resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
He said peace and stability cannot be achieved in the region unless Turkey and TRNC receive a fair share of territorial rights.
Erdogan has said separate administrations were the only solution to divided Cyprus after UN-mediated peace talks between the Greek Cypriot administration and TRNC broke down in 2017.
Ankara has proposed an informal meeting between Turkey, Greece, Turkish and Greek Cypriots, and the United Nations.
Talks with President Tatar
During the visit, Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar discussed the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, along with steps to further strengthen the close cooperation between Turkey and the TRNC.
Erdogan also attended the official opening of the Lefkosa emergency hospital.
"The most important sign of solidarity with the TRNC is this Lefkosa emergency hospital emergency hospital," he said, adding "We wouldn't have completed this hospital in as short a time as 45 days if our hearts were not united with the TRNC."
Citing Turkey's support for the TRNC, Erdogan pointed out that Ankara had provided $19 million in aid to the country during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"We came to our brothers' aid in Northern Cyprus from the very beginning of the pandemic. We provided all kinds of support in the field of health," he said.
He said that a 500-bed hospital would also soon be opened in the TRNC.