There can be no improvement in relations between Greece and Turkey until the latter stops violating international law in Cyprus, Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias said on Wednesday.
At a press conference that followed a meeting with Cypriot foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides, Dendias said that his presence in Cyprus “symbolises the Greek government’s commitment to stand by the Cypriot government and its people, but also stand for international legitimacy”, according to the Cyprus Mail news outlet.
The meeting of the two foreign ministers took place only a day after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded his two day visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the 50th anniversary of the island’s division. During his visit, Erdogan repeated his desire to see a two-state solution for Cyprus, a position at odds with the stances of the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union and the United Nations.
In particular, Erdogan dismissed EU criticism of his decision to oversee the opening of the resort town of Varosha, known as Maras in Turkish, in spite of U.N resolutions related to the town. He declared that Ankara and the TRNC “will do what we need to do”. He added that Turkey does not have “another 50 years to waste.”
Both Dendias and Christodiulides condemned Erdogan’s increasingly hardening position on Cyprus.
“It is clear that Turkey’s provocative actions aim to promote alternative solutions to the Cyprus problem, something neither Cyprus, nor the international community, will accept,” said Christodiulides. He expressed hope that a U.N Security Council meeting on Wednesday will send a clear message to Turkey without room for “misinterpretation.”
“We want to be clear that illegality is not law, violation does not produce rights,” Dendias said, adding that he shared these views with his counterparts in the U.S, Israel and France.
“Turkish aggression cannot go unanswered. Our response, as always, will be based on international law and the values that govern us.”