Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 20 that the Turkish army would never hesitate to take the same steps as 45 years ago, if needed for the lives and security of Turkish Cypriots.
“Turkey launched the peace operation in Cyprus to protect the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots who are one of the equal owners of the island”, Erdogan said in a statement released by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate.
Erdogan’s remarks came on the 45th anniversary of Turkey’s military operation, launched to protect the Turkish population in Cyprus.
“The entire world is watching our determination. No one should doubt that the heroic Turkish army, which sees [Northern] Cyprus as its homeland, will not hesitate to take the same step it took 45 years ago if needed for the lives and security of the Turkish Cypriots”, said Erdogan.
Erdogan recalled that the “military operation in 1974 came after all diplomatic steps were exhausted in line with international law” and added: “Those who think the wealth of the island and the region only belongs to them will face the determination of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots”.
Erdogan reportedly said that Turkey’s aim was a fair and permanent solution on the island and peace, not for the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean to prevail.
“Those who dream of changing the fact that Turkish Cypriots are an integral part of the Turkish nation will soon realise that it is in vain”, Erdogan added.