President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged to protect the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots in a message published on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation.
"Those who dream of changing the fact that Turkish Cypriots are an integral part of the Turkish nation will realize it is in vain," the president said.
Erdoğan continued by noting that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will oppose efforts by the Greek Cypriots to exploit the island's resources.
The president also said that Turkey will not hesitate to intervene, just like it did 45 years ago, to ensure the safety and security of Turkish Cypriots whenever it is necessary. He highlighted that Turkish Cypriots are an inseparable part of the Turkish nation.
July 20 marks the 45th anniversary of the Turkish peace operation.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey used its guarantor rights to intervene on the island after a far-right Greek Cypriot military coup sponsored by the military junta then in power in Athens sought to unite the island with Greece. The coup followed decadelong inter-ethnic violence and terrorism targeting Turkish Cypriots, who were forced to live in enclaves when Greek Cypriots unilaterally changed the constitution in 1963 and stripped the island's Turks of their political rights.
The TRNC, established in 1983 on the northern one-third of the island, is only recognized by Turkey and faces a longstanding embargo in commerce, transportation and culture. Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot Administration enjoys recognition by the international community as the Republic of Cyprus, established in 1960, which is a member of the EU.
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