Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’

Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, his wife Emine Erdogan, left, Ersin Tatar, second right, and his wife Sibel Tatar, greet each other during a welcome ceremony at Ercan Airport, in Nicosia, Northern Cyprus, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. (AP)
Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’
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Protesters in the Turkish-occupied Cypriot resort town of Verosha demonstrated against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 16 November 2020

Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’

Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’
  • Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the visit was 'provocative and illegal'
  • Erdogan was visiting Northern Cyprus after Ersin Tatar won last month's presidential election

ANKARA: Recep Tayyip Erdogan was again accused of provocation on Sunday after a controversial visit to a Turkish enclave in Cyprus.

The Turkish president demanded a “two-state solution” for the divided island and vowed to continue oil exploration in Greek territorial waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

The island is split between the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member that controls the southern two thirds, and the northern third occupied by Turkey since 1974. 

Only Ankara recognizes northern Cyprus as an independent state, and it is largely shunned by the international community

"Our priority is to ensure a fair, lasting and sustainable solution" in Cyprus that ensures Turkish Cypriots have security and legal rights, Erdogan told an audience after his arrival.

“There are two peoples and two separate states in Cyprus. There must be talks for a solution on the basis of two separate states,” he said. 

"A two-state solution must be negotiated on the basis of sovereign equality," he added.

Erdogan was visiting Northern Cyprus after Ersin Tatar, who also supports a two-state solution, won last month's presidential election. Tatar's predecessor had backed reunification of the island.


'Provocative and illegal'

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades condemned Erdogan’s visit, and the “secessionist act of the declaration of the illegal regime” in the north.

“Ankara has absolutely no respect for international law, European principles and values, and its obligations toward the EU,” he said.

Erdogan later visited Varosha, a beach town that has been fenced-off and abandoned in no-man's land since 1974.

Ankara backed the partial re-opening of Varosha just before last month's election in a move criticized by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.

Turkey has increasingly flexed its military muscle in the region, including by backing Azerbaijan in its renewed conflict with Armenia over the past few weeks.

Erdogan alluded to Turkey's dispute with EU members Greece and Cyprus and with other neighbors over territorial waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

The EU has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey next month over illegal exploration at sea.

"Neither we nor Northern Cyprus can tolerate diplomacy games (in the region) anymore," Erdogan said.

He added that Tatar would soon visit Azerbaijan - which does not recognize Northern Cyprus — to "make the situation better", without elaborating.

Tatar backed Erdogan's calls for a two-state solution and offshore rights.


 


Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
Updated 20 min 51 sec ago

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
  • Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic
  • The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14

TUNIS: Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Tunisian cities on Saturday to protest police repression, corruption and poverty, following several nights of unrest marked by clashes and arrests.
Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the economy and threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Over 6,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Tunisia, with a record 103 deaths reported on Thursday.
The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14.
But protesters took to the streets in several parts of the country, including the capital Tunis and the marginalized interior region of Gafsa, to demand the release of hundreds of young people detained during several nights of unrest since January 14.
“Neither police nor Islamists, the people want revolution,” chanted demonstrators in a crowd of several hundred in Tunis, where one person was wounded in brief clashes amid a heavy police presence.
Protests were also held in the coastal city of Sfax on Friday.
Much of the unrest has been in working class neighborhoods, where anger is boiling over soaring unemployment and a political class accused of having failed to deliver good governance, a decade after the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Economic misery exacerbated by novel coronavirus restrictions in the tourism-reliant nation have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to try to leave the country.
“The situation is catastrophic,” said Omar Jawadi, 33, a hotel sales manager, who has been paid only half his salary for months.
“The politicians are corrupt, we want to change the government and the system.”
The police have said more than 700 people were arrested over several nights of unrest earlier this week that saw young people hurl rocks and petrol bombs at security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.
Human rights groups on Thursday said at least 1,000 people had been detained.
“Youth live from day to day, we no longer have hope, neither to work nor to study — and they call us troublemakers!” said call center worker Amine, who has a degree in aerospace engineering.
“We must listen to young people, not send police in by the thousands. The whole system is corrupt, a few families and their supporters control Tunisia’s wealth.”
Tunisia last week marked one decade since Ben Ali fled the country amid mass protests, ending 23 years in power.
Tunisia’s political leadership is divided, with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi waiting for parliament to confirm a major cabinet reshuffle announced last Saturday.