Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu accuses Turkish-Cypriot leader of supporting terrorism

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday accused Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı of hostility against Turkey and supporting terrorism.

“Why is Akıncı attacking Turkey out of nowhere? Why does he act hostile to Turkey, as Turkey fights against terrorism? [Akıncı] supports terrorism,” the minister was quoted by state-run Anadolu agency as saying.

Çavuşoğlu also accused Akıncı of acting dishonestly during the U.N.-mediated talks between the Turkish and Greek sides in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, which ended without resolution in 2017.

Turkey annexing the Turkish third of the Mediterranean island would be “horrible,” Akıncı, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a breakaway state only recognised by Turkey, had said in an interview with the Guardian.

“The goal of Cypriot Turks is not to become a minority for the Greek part, or to be annexed by Turkey,” a later statement by Akıncı’s spokesman said.  

Turkish government cooperated with Akıncı on Cyprus negotiations, while Akıncı “has started to use Turkey as election material,” similar to “certain Western countries,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Turkey clearly favours political equality, security and guarantee for Turkish Cypriots, the minister added.

The points Akıncı had made were not issues that were on the public agenda in Turkey or Cyprus, Çavuşoğlu said. 

Before commenting on a possible annexation by Turkey, Akıncı had said a lasting division between the island’s Turkish and Greek communities was “becoming more consolidated each year, physically, demographically, economically … in the mind of youngsters.”

The AKP government has been at odds with Akıncı often throughout his time in office, while maintaining better relations with TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, who is running against Akıncı in April’s upcoming elections.