The Turkish leadership is trying to put on an equal par the victim with the perpetrator, Greek Foreign Ministry Spokesman Stratos Efthymiou said on Tuesday, invited to comment on statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Cyprus.

Efthymiou pointed out that Turkey’s leadership is making arbitrary statements which have nothing to do with history with a view to absolve Ankara of its responsibilities as an occupying power, which maintains a 40,000 strong military presence in the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus.

On Tuesday the Turkish President, addressing a meeting in Istanbul, criticised the use of the Cypriot flag at European meetings, claiming that the flag shows the whole island and gives the impression that Cyprus is only Greek.

Erdogan’s comments come as diplomatic efforts intensify to help resume the UN-led peace talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. Their most recent round of talks, in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, on territory did not yield the desired results, which were an agreement on the criteria on territorial adjustments to enable the process to make headway.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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