Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the international community to end the “isolation” of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), which is recognized only by Ankara, as he reiterated his support for a two-state solution on the divided island.
Erdoğan’s remarks came during the inauguration on Thursday of a new terminal at Ercan International Airport in the KKTC, where he was also to attend ceremonies marking the 49th anniversary of the Turkish occupation of the island.
Cyprus, which joined the European Union in 2004, has been divided since Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the northern part, in response to a coup by Greek Cypriot nationalists who wanted to link the country to Greece.
The northern part of the island with a majority of Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers, was self-proclaimed the KKTC in 1983.
“I reiterate my call for support of the ideal of two equal states coexisting on the island of Cyprus as opposed to dominance, tension and a culture of conflict,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said the day when the new terminal will welcome the passengers of international flights is not far away, noting that the airport has an annual capacity of 10 million passengers, making it the largest on the island of Cyprus.
International flights are prohibited at Ercan International Airport because the KKTC is not recognized internationally.
Erdoğan said the international community should end the isolation imposed on the KKTC and that international flights should be allowed at the airport.
The president said there are no United Nations Security Council resolutions that justify the isolation and restrictions imposed on the KKTC people, which he described as “political” and “unlawful.”
Negotiations for a settlement on the two-state solution on the island have stalled since 2017.
A UN plan to reunite the island was put to a referendum in 2004, which was approved by 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots in the north.
More than 75 percent of the Greek Cypriots in the south were against Turkey’s proposed division of the Mediterranean island.