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France slams Erdogan ‘provocation’ after Cyprus two-state comments

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France on Wednesday accused Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of a provocation after he pressed for a two-state solution for Cyprus during a visit to the Turkish-occupied north of the Mediterranean island. Erdogan also backed controversial plans to partially reopen the “ghost” town of Varosha.

“France deeply regrets this unilateral move which was not coordinated and constitutes a provocation,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. 

“It undermines the restoration of the confidence necessary for the urgent resumption of negotiations for a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus question.”

On his visit Tuesday, Erdogan backed a two-state solution in Cyprus between the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government in the south and the Turkish-occupied north, in a marked divergence from international efforts to reunify the island based on a bicommunal federation.

He also threw his weight behind plans to partially reopen the coastal resort of Varosha that was emptied of its original Greek Cypriot residents.

Turkish Cypriots said on Tuesday that part of Varosha would come under civilian control and people would be able to reclaim properties – angering Greek Cypriots who accused their Turkish rivals of orchestrating a land-grab by stealth.

Varosha, an eerie collection of derelict high-rise hotels and residences in a military zone nobody has been allowed to enter, has been deserted since a 1974 war split the island.

France, which is currently chairing the UN Security Council, will raise the issue at discussions there on Thursday, the ministry said.

“France reaffirms its attachment to the framework endorsed by the UN Security Council, based on a bizonal and bicommunal federation, offering the two communities full guarantees of their political equality,” it said.

The island is divided between the Greek Cypriot-run Republic of Cyprus and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Ankara.

Turkish troops seized Cyprus’s northern third in 1974 in response to an aborted coup in Nicosia aimed at attaching the country to Greece.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)



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