Erdogan said they will not return occupied Morfou to its legal owners

 Under the title: “Start from the scratch”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.07.11) reports that in spite of the expectations regarding the return of the occupied closed city of Varosha to its legal Greek Cypriot owners, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that not only Varosha but Morfou as well will not be returned to its legal owners.

 In statements yesterday in Ankara to a group of Turkish Cypriot journalists, Erdogan said that the Cyprus problem entered into a new stage and that the Turkish side is not at the point it was in 2004 during the Annan Plan. Erdogan noted that the issue of Varosha is not in the agenda of the Turkish side and that they will not turn occupied Morfou into an issue of bargain. Erdogan stated also that they will not withdraw any army from the occupied area of Cyprus. Erdogan asked from the people living in occupied Morfou area not to worry. Erdogan said: “Morfou is not in my book any more. The Greek Cypriots, who have made no step for the solution, will wait for Varosha for a much longer time”. Erdogan alleged that the Greek Cypriots have lost this chance by not accepting the Annan Plan in 2004 and asked from the Greek Cypriots not to expect him to withdraw troops from the island. Reiterating the Turkish view that the EU should lift the so-called embargoes allegedly imposed on the Turkish Cypriots, Erdogan said: “Starting from Malta, they recognized small places in African countries, but there is an inhuman stance against the Turkish Cypriots. The common aspects with the countries they have recognized are their common religion and culture. They could easily decide for them, but they do not exhibit the same easiness when it comes to the Turkish Cypriots”. Asked whether the recognition of the breakaway regime will be among their new alternatives if a solution is not reached, Erdogan said that this had been tried in the past with no success, but it could come in the agenda again. He noted that in parallel to the recognition, other solutions exist, that they hold some contracts with foreign countries on this issue and that they explain more these “realities” to the Islamic countries. Erdogan described as “very human” stance the transfer of electricity from the occupied to the government-controlled area of the island. He said that they will use this human approach in the international field, that they will explain this wherever they go and they will show to the world the good intention of the Turkish Cypriot side. Erdogan argued that the danger exists for the negotiations to come to a dead-end, that time is running out and therefore they expect from the Greek Cypriots to take a step.

 “However they should know that we are not at the point of the Annan Plan. They will have to wait for a long time for us to open Varosha to them without them taking a step”, he said. Erdogan asked the Turkish Cypriot journalists to tell him how many children each of them had and when three of them told him that they had two children each and one said that she had no children in spite of the fact that she was married for seven years, Erdogan he cracked a joke saying: “On the one hand you oppose to our transfer of population from Turkey and on the other you do not have children”. He argued that Cyprus needs population and that every family should have four children.

Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (19.07.11) refers to the same statements under the title: “We will not give Morfou” and reports that Erdogan’s breakfast with the Turkish Cypriot journalists lasted for two hours. The Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for Cyprus Besir Atalay and the Minister responsible for Europe Egemen Bagis participated in the breakfast. Erdogan told the reporters that the Cyprus problem approaches to its end. He said they will act according to the results of the tripartite summit to be held in October in New York and added that, if it is necessary, they have different alternatives. He argued: “The conditions of the Burgenstock period do not exist anymore. The giving period ended. Giving Morfou is not in my book. We gave it in 2004 and they did not want it”. Erdogan said also that he does not intent to give any concession on the issue of Varosha and the opening of the Turkish ports to vessels under the Cyprus flag. “These could be done only with keeping the given promises simultaneously”, he added. Erdogan noted that he does not consider the occupied area of Cyprus and Turkey as two separate areas and argued that thanks to the water project of Turkey and the other projects and support of Ankara, the government-controlled area of the island will not have the possibilities of occupied northern Cyprus in the future and the situation will cause problems to the government-controlled area of the island. Referring to the banners that were raised against Turkey during the rallies of the Turkish Cypriots a few months ago, Erdogan said that these banners do not represent the entire Turkish Cypriot “people” and added that he reacted to these banners and not against all the Turkish Cypriots.

Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (19.07.11) refers to Erdogan’s statements under the title: “We have a single heart” and writes that Erdogan said that during the next four years when he will be Prime Minister no one should expect the return of Morfou as in the Annan Plan, because “Morfou entirely belongs to northern Cyprus now”. Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (19.07.11) refers to Erdogan’s statements under the title: “July 2012 is the final point”. The paper reports that Erdogan said: “During south Cyprus’ term presidency the relations with the EU will definitely end for us. We will freeze them. I am saying it clearly and openly. During the term presidency of south Cyprus, even the most insignificant meeting is out of the question for us, because we could not hold a meeting with an administration which we do not recognize”.

Erdogan added that if the Cyprus problem does not end in 2012, “we have to take care of our own affairs”. “Then we shall re-examine everything, including Varosha”, he added. Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (19.07.11) refers to Erdogan’s statements under the title: “‘We have come to the end of the road'”.

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