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Erdogan visits occupied Cyprus, coveting natural gas fields

Turkey will never condone Turkish Cypriots becoming victims of a stalemate, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, on his first visit abroad, to the part of Cyprus under the occupation of Turkish troops.

In a joint press conference with president of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mustafa Akinci, on a visit to occupied Cyprus, Erdogan said: “We will never allow the Turkish Cypriots to become minorities in a Greek Cypriot state.” 

“Cyprus is our national cause. Our goal is to find a just and lasting solution on Cyprus,” he added. 

It is no secret that Turkey has been contemplating the annexation of northern Cyprus that it has been occupying after an invasion in 1974.

Erdogan also said that Turkey aims to double the TRNC’s national income per capita by turning it into a center of attraction in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Erdogan’s trip to TRNC is his second state visit since his inauguration Monday to a second term, under Turkey’s new presidential system of government, continuing the tradition of Turkey’s leaders first visiting Azerbaijan and the TRNC after taking office. 

Turkey officially switched to a new presidential system of government after Erdogan on Monday was sworn in as the Republic of Turkey's first president under its new government system. 

His June 24 re-election marked Turkey's transition to an executive presidential system of government, doing away with the prime minister's post, among other changes. 

For his part, Akinci praised the TRNC's “sincere relations” with Turkey, signalling the stranglehold, Ankara has placed on Turkish Cypriots, many of whom see these relations as at least oppressive.

“The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus places great importance on its cooperation with Turkey. It is clear that Turkish Cypriots -- unfairly isolated from the world -- need Turkey’s support for the development of our country in every area," he said. 

 Ruling out “open-ended negotiations” in Cyprus peace talks, Akinci said: “From now on, the Turkish side of Cyprus will not be a part of an unending negotiation process."

In 2017 the latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure after two years of negotiations. 

Referring to the Republic of Cyprus drilling activities for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, Akinci said: “As the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, with Turkey’s support, it is out of the question that we give up our rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

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