We strongly condemn the statement made by Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides on 18 July 2016 during the 28th EU Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels, in which he used the unsuccessful coup attempt in Motherland Turkey as an excuse to claim that there should not be a Turkish military presence on the Island following a settlement.

In his statement, Kasoulides displayed the audacity to claim that during the unfortunate events which took place in Turkey on 15 July, the “Turkish soldiers stationed in the north were left without a leadership and that there was a state of uncertainty”. We have since witnessed several inconceivable statements of the Greek Cypriot side on multiple platforms. It is clear that this entrenched and detrimental mentality of the Greek Cypriot side will not desist. In fact, such statements which are indicative of this mentality, have cemented the legitimacy of the Turkish military presence on the Island even further. We find it necessary to emphasize, once again, that in view of such mentalities as demonstrated in the various statements of the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish military presence on the Island continues to be the sole source of security for the Turkish Cypriot people.

At a time when the negotiations aimed at finding a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue are underway in an intensified manner and when agreement has been reached to discuss the chapter on security and guarantees at the final stage of the negotiations, the Greek Cypriot side has reflected the unfortunate incidents in Turkey, which do not pose any real threat to them, as a source of concern.

The Turkish troops stationed in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are present on the Island in accordance with the 1960 Treaties, namely the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance. We would like to remind the fact it was the Turkish troops which ended the bloodshed inflicted on Turkish Cypriots between the years 1963 and 1974 by the Greek Cypriots. Furthermore, the reinstatement of peace along with the continuation of a peaceful atmosphere on the Island ever since is, once again, owed to the presence of the Turkish troops. We find it imperative to underline on the 42nd anniversary of this momentous day that, with the Peace Operation which was carried out on 20 July 1974, alongside the Turkish Cypriot people, many Greek Cypriot lives were also saved.

We would like to stress that we find incomprehensible the efforts of Kasoulides aiming to politicise the unfortunate events which took place in Turkey with an opportunistic view in order to deviate from established UN parameters. We invite the Greek Cypriot side to channel their efforts and thoughts towards approaches which shall provide a settlement and the peaceful existence of the two peoples on the Island instead of making such baseless statements. We would like to strongly reiterate that in a settlement to be reached between the two sides, the continuation of Motherland Turkey’s effective guarantee is indispensable for the Turkish Cypriots.