Cyprus reunification talks should not resume unless a controversial decision by the Greek Cyprus parliament to back Enosis (Union) celebrations is dropped, Turkey's main opposition party said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a news conference in the Turkish parliament, the Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Öztürk Yılmaz said the main reason for a halt in the Cyprus talks was the decision to introduce annual celebrations to mark a 1950 referendum calling for the island to be annexed to Greece.
The move has caused peace talks on the island come to a halt.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after an Enosis-inspired 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island's Turkish population, and the subsequent intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
The Cyprus issue remains unsolved despite a series of reunification negotiations, which resumed in May 2015.
KRG flag criticism
Criticizing the flying of flags belonging to Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) at airports in Ankara and Istanbul during KRG President Masoud Barzani's recent visit to Turkey, Yılmaz described the move as a message to "conservative Kurdish voters" in Turkey.
"Barzani is invited to Turkey before every election to collect votes conservative Kurds" he said.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli also criticized the issue on Thursday, whereas Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım stated that international protocol rules were applied during Barzani's visit and that there was no need to debate on the issue.
Turkey is currently facing a referendum on major constitutional changes, which is scheduled to take place in April. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are both calling for a Yes vote in the poll, while the CHP and the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) want a "No" vote.
When asked by reporters about Turkey's Iraq and Syria policy, Yılmaz said the CHP could not understand Ankara's strategy in the two troubled countries.
"Turkey's intervention in Raqqa is not correct," Yılmaz said adding that "the holder of Manbij is the U.S., the PYD is just a proxy. You cannot solve any troubles with proxies."
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army would go on to take Syria's Manbij and Raqqa areas, and called for the terrorist PYD/YPG group to pull out of majority-Arab Manbij.
Raqqa has been described as the so-called "capital" of the Daesh terror network.
Former Mosul Consul-General Yılmaz was among 20 consulate staff and 30 security guards that were taken hostage by Daesh terrorist group for 101 days during their capture of Iraq's second largest city in June 2014.
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