Divisions highlighted ahead of UDI anniversary in north

While Greek Cypriot political parties on Wednesday condemned the 35th anniversary of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), which will be marked in the north on Thursday, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci acknowledged Turkey’s support for the breakaway state.

On November 15, 1983, the Turkish Cypriots declared the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)’ an independent state though it is only recognised by Ankara.

Ahead of the 35th anniversary, which will be marked with a military parade, Akinci, in statements to the Turkish Anatolia News Agency, said the intercommunal strife, which broke out in Cyprus in December 1963, signalled the beginning of the end of the fledgling Cyprus Republic established in 1960.

But it was not until after 1974 that Turkish Cypriots were given the opportunity to live together in one place.  “In all this… we felt the close interest and support of Turkey,” he said.

Akinci said the Turkish Cypriot side would never stop trying for a lasting peace on the island but said this effort could not be unilateral, and for this reason the Greek Cypriots should try to “digest the concept of political equality” in a possible federal solution.

Akinci said he had evaluated the “distorted interpretations” and the “wrong messages” coming recently from the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of political equality and what he was seeing and hearing was regrettable.

“The land of this island and the wealth in the seas are enough for everyone. All sides will gain from cooperation, agreement and peace. The relations between Turkey and Greece will also be improved in time. The stability in the area will also gain from this. The Eastern Mediterranean will stop being tense and will become a sea of peace and stability,” he said.

“The goodwill efforts of the TRNC on this issue, our goodwill wishes are not enough. The same goodwill, the same wishes should come from south Cyprus as well.”

Attending Thursday’s anniversary events in the north will be Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay who will take part in a number of ceremonies, culminating in the military parade, during which the Turkish Air Forces Aerobatics Team Solo Turk will put on a display over Kyrenia.

Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay was quoted as saying the presence of the Turkish air force made them “feel safe”.

The leader of the Democrat Party, and ‘finance minister’ Serdar Denktash said: “The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not only a guarantee for us but also for the future generations.”  He also criticised the Greek Cypriots for not wanting to share political equality.

‘Prime minister’ Tufan Erhurman said the ‘TRNC’ was “of vital importance for the Turkish Cypriot people”. “Relations between the Republic of Turkey and the TRNC, whether for defence or economic purposes is of vital importance to us.”

The UDI will be marked in the south of the island with various events and protests condemning the occupation.

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