Erdogan rejects Cyprus-Gaza link

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday dismissed any link between the occupation of one-third of northern Cyprus by Turkish forces and the situation in Gaza.

The Turkish premier made the comment when asked to comment on a report that an Israeli vessel would sail to Cyprus to protest the Turkish occupation of one-third of the island republic.

“The Turkish military is not an occupier on Cyprus, rather it is on the island for the needs that arise from Turkey’s capacity as a guarantor power,” he told reporters.

“If the ship goes to south Cyprus {the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus} then the issue does not affect us,” he said.

“The Turkish military … is there (Cyprus) to ensure the peace and due to the needs that arise from Turkey’s capacity as a guarantor power. Whatever other claim is unacceptable. After all, soldiers are present in south Cyprus as well,” he said.

Erdogan made the comments during a press conference in Istanbul with visiting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, on the sidelines of a Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, or CICA.

ANA