President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his congratulatory message for the country's 36th anniversary late Thursday, said Turkey will never let the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) rights be extorted.
"We will never allow the extortion of Cypriot Turks' rights over the hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean," he said.
"As the guarantor state, we will continue to stand with the Cypriot Turks, and uphold our national Cyprus cause," Erdoğan added.
"No one, especially the European Union, has the right to turn Turkish Cypriots into prisoners of Greek Cypriot agenda."
The President also said the Greek side has failed to support a possible political solution. "Turkish efforts for a just, sustainable political solution on Cyprus was not reciprocated on the southern side," he added.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus's annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all failing. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. – came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
The TRNC was established in 1983 on the northern one-third of the island, is only recognized by Turkey and faces a longstanding embargo on commerce, transportation and culture.
The Greek Cypriot administration enjoys recognition by the international community as the Republic of Cyprus, established in 1960, and acceded into the EU on May 1, 2004, only days after the April 24 referendum to end the breakaway and isolation of Turkish Cyprus – which was rejected by 76% of Greek Cypriot voters and accepted by 65% of Turkish Cypriot voters.
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