Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has pointed out that the country “prevented a massacre” during its 1974 peace operation after a Greek lawmaker accused Ankara of occupying the northern part of Cyprus.
Türkiye defense chief Hulusi Akar has reprimanded a Greek member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly for accusations over northern Cyprus.
Akar was addressing the opening session of a joint meeting of the NATO Group for the Mediterranean and the Middle East on Tuesday when the Greek lawmaker accused Turkey of occupying the northern part of Cyprus.
He shared Türkiye’s approaches to defense and security issues, followed by a question-and-answer session during which he told the lawmaker: “If you call Northern Cyprus an ‘occupation’, that means that you want to start by discussing.”
Recalling the “massacres and coups” led by Greek Cypriots that took place on the island until 1974, Akar pointed out that at that time “even the lives of Greeks (Cypriots) were in danger”. .
“From 1974 until today, the south and the north have lived in peace. You have to see that. You must not be biased,” Akar said, stressing that Turkey “prevented a massacre” in its peace operation on the island.
He also pointed out that “Despite all its shortcomings, the Turkish Cypriots accepted the UN’s Annan Plan as a solution in 2004. The Greek Cypriot side did not accept it.”
READ MORE: Impossible for Ankara to neglect the rights of the TRNC and its people: Cavusoglu
Turkish Defense Minister Akar responds to Greek MPs:
– The solution to our problems can be solved through discussions
– We have already had 3 meetings and it has now been 2 years that we have been waiting for you to accept the invitation to the 4th
– You must accompany these meetings so that we can find solutions together pic.twitter.com/5KkRuFfBXz
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) June 14, 2022
A base for terrorists
In his address, Akar highlighted the presence of terrorists targeting Turkey in Greece, including the PKK/YPG terrorist group and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a defeated 2016 coup in the country.
He also referred to the presence of the PKK and FETO in the Lavrion (Laurium) refugee camp near the Greek capital Athens, which footage from a private Greek broadcaster recently revealed was used as a base for propaganda and training for terrorists. The Greek legislator denied this allegation.
While Ankara is waging an intense fight against terrorism, it is against a relationship of alliance and friendship that Greece “gives room to the PKK/YPG, FETO”, Akar said.
READ MORE: Greek Cypriot side tries to dilute negotiations on Cyprus: Türkiye
“Greek planes violated our airspace; after that, what do you want us to do? »
Turkish Defense Minister Akar answered a question from a Greek parliamentarian during a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He also said that the allied countries had been informed of the violation by Greece pic.twitter.com/YCyhdFu43u
— TRT World (@trtworld) June 14, 2022
“What do you expect from us? »
Stressing Ankara’s willingness to hold talks with Greece, Akar said Türkiye “has always and persistently stated that we are in favor of resolving issues through international law, good neighborly relations and dialogue.” He added that after three consultative meetings, Turkey is waiting for the Greek side to come to Ankara for a fourth.
Responding to a question from another Greek parliamentarian who alleged that Turkish planes were flying over the Greek islands, Akar referred to April 27, when a Greek plane violated Turkish airspace over the southwest of the country.
“After that, what do you expect from us?” he asked, adding that Türkiye had launched a retaliatory action the following day.
Ethnic attacks from the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to retreat to enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at the annexation of Greece led to the military intervention of Türkiye as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence.
As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983. It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed initiative in 2017 in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK. The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year the Greek Cypriots thwarted the UN’s Annan plan to end the long-running dispute. The status of the island remains pending.
READ MORE: Erdogan warns Greece in Greek that its actions ‘will lead it to regret’
Greece has deployed troops and weapons on 16 Greek islands that should be demilitarized according to the Lausanne and Paris treaties since the 1960s despite Türkiye’s objections, saying it is their sovereign right to militarize the islands of the Aegean Sea. pic.twitter.com/bHBQceOQpN
— TRT World (@trtworld) June 14, 2022