Turkey is involved in the confrontation divided island of Cyprus between his ethnic compatriots who hold the breakaway northern part of it and the Greek Cypriots. In a tweet following the meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister, Jaishankar said they had a “far-reaching conversation that Ukraine conflict, food security, G20 processes, world order, NAM (Non-aligned Movement) and Cyprus”.
Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar met the Turkish Foreign Minister for a wide-ranging discussion on global affairs, hours after Ankara President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a neutral-sounding reference to Kashmir in his speech to the General Assembly.
In his speech, Erdogan maintained a neutral-sounding stance, saying, “We hope and pray that fair and lasting peace and prosperity will be established in Kashmir.” He avoided internationalizing Kashmir, even relying on UN resolutions like last year called or sharply criticized India in the years before. In addition to Pakistani politicians Erdogan is the only other leader to have mentioned Kashmir in speeches to the 193-member assembly in recent years.
The island nation: Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in eastern Mediterranean and has been divided into the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus (ROC) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) since the Turkish invasion in 1974. The ROC, which occupies two-thirds of the island, is recognized internationally, while the TRNC, which occupies a third of the north, is recognized only by Turkey. In 2004, the Republic of China joined the European Union.
The island has also long been plagued by ethnic divisions between its Greeks and Turks residents. In 2015, the total population of Cyprus was estimated at 9.4 lakh, with 74.5 percent Greek Cypriots and 9.8 percent Turkish Cypriots. Foreigners made up 15.7 percent of the population. In the 47 years since the island gained independence from Britain, reunification talks and even two-state settlements have made little headway.
From Ottoman to British rule to the Turkish invasion:
Cyprus is south of Turkey and southeast of Greece. Like India, it was also a British colony. From 1571 to 1878 the island was under Ottoman rule. Under the Cyprus Convention of 1878, the Ottoman Turks turned over administration of the island to Britain in exchange for guarantees that the Ottoman Empire would be protected from possible Russian aggression. In 1914 the British annexed the island and ruled until 1960, granting Cyprus independence under a power-sharing constitution between its Turkish and Greek residents.
In 1974, the military junta in Greece backed a coup against it Cyprus President Makarios, and prepared the ground for a Turkish invasion. It successfully occupied the northern third of the island. In 1983, Rauf Denktas, a prominent Turkish Cypriot politician and lawyer, declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and subsequently served as the breakaway territory’s first President.
Back then, the UN Security Council condemned the new government as “invalid” and in violation of the 1960 treaty. The United Nations intervened after the invasion, establishing what was known as a buffer zone after the country was effectively partitioned ‘Green Line’. Today, UN troops patrol the Green Line, while barbed wire and trenches criss-cross the capital, Nicosia.
After almost four decades, no solution in sight:
In the 38 years since Turkish Cypriots declared Northern Cyprus a Turkish republic, UN-led peace talks have been unsuccessful. Greek Cypriots have typically fought for the island’s reunification, while their Turkish counterparts have pushed for a two-state solution. In April this year, UN-led talks attempted to resume talks to reunify Cyprus but hit an impasse. “There will be no negotiations as long as the Greek Cypriots are treated as if they were the Republic of Cyprus and as long as the Turkish Cypriots are treated as if we were nothing more than a mere community of that republic.” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu said.
2015, President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, resumed talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on reunifying the island, but that too was unsuccessful. In August this year, the President of Northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar, spoke out against the Greek Cypriot government’s decision to revoke the passports of senior Turkish Cypriot officials. He called the move “an attack on efforts to reach an agreement”.
Tatar, like many other Turkish Cypriots born when the island gained independence from the British, holds a Cypriot passport but refuses to recognize the republic south of the Green Line. The Greek-controlled government The decision to withdraw the passports of senior Turkish Cypriot officials was seen in response to Tatar’s announcement a month earlier that his government would proceed with plans to open up part of Varosha. Varosha used to be a busy tourist center but was later abandoned during the Turkish invasion in 1974.