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Tensions between Turkey, Turkish Cypriots escalate

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Sep 16, 2020

You would expect Turks of different backgrounds and viewpoints to close ranks while tensions still run high between Turkey, Greece and France over the oil and gas riches of the eastern Mediterranean. Not so for the government of Turkey and President Mustafa Akinci of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

In an interview with the news outlet Euronews on Sept. 8, Akinci argued that “outsiders” (hinting at the Turkish government) are intervening in the Turkish Cypriot presidential elections that will be held Oct. 11. Akinci said, “When the military insurgency happened on July 15 [2016], we supported the civilian administration in Turkey; we did so out of respect for the democracy, civil administration [and] the people of Turkey and their will. Now, we expect the same respect for the Turkish Cypriot democracy and the decision of our people. We expect nobody to make the mistake of taking sides during the election. I am saying that because there is evidence.”

In the rest of the interview, Akinci struck a conciliatory tone in his comments on the resolution of the Cyprus conflict and Turkey’s disputes with the European Union (especially Greece and France) over the eastern Mediterranean. He asked for the relationship between Turkey and Northern Cyprus to change from the traditional rhetoric of “the motherland looking after the babyland” toward one where Northern Cyprus acts and is treated as a state capable of determining its own future.

Akinci’s remarks met with a harsh reaction from the pro-government press in Turkey. Yeni Safak........

© Al Monitor

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