Turkey to protect Turkish Cypriots’ rights: Minister

Ankara will never tolerate a usurpation of the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots with a fait accompli, the country's defense minister said Thursday.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 55th anniversary of the Erenkoy resistance on Cyprus, Hulusi Akar said Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots had extended their hand for peace and stability.

"We are awaiting an answer to this hand. We hope that all relevant parties, especially the Greek Cypriots, understand our conciliatory and sincere approach and respond in kind," Akar said, adding they hoped that in this way, new "stories of peace" could be written on the island.

"Turkey is the most powerful guarantor of peace and stability in the region," Akar said.

He underlined that Ankara would continue to protect the legitimate rights and interests of both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus under international law in accordance with guarantee and alliance agreements.

- Meeting with Tatar

"Our wish is to see the political equality of our people here as part of international law through peaceful means and methods," Akar said after his visit to Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.

He said Turkey, as a guarantor state, and Turkish Armed Force are always on the side of peace.

"We are very sincere in this. We are in favor of good neighborly relations and peaceful solution of problems in international law."

Tatar stated that people of Turkish Cypriot have full confidence in Turkey and the Turkish armed forces.

"If there is peace in this country in both the north and the south now, it is due to the presence of Turkish army," he added.

On Aug. 5, 1964, Greek Cypriots attacked the Erenkoy and Mansur regions with assault rifles from the sea and infantry units reinforced with tanks, and opened fire on Turkish towns and Turkish fishing boats on the coast.

After it became clear that the UN presence on the island would remain indifferent to the massacre, Turkey sent its first aid mission to the island in the form of four aircraft on Aug. 7.

In 1964, nearly 500 Turkish Cypriot university students from Turkey and London came to Erenkoy by boat to help in the resistance against Greek Cypriot attacks.

Source: Anadolu Agency