Ankara, July 20 () - As the re-started talks on Cyprus gain momentum, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit the northern half of the divided Mediterranean island on July 20 to attend ceremonies marking the 41st anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The date marks the anniversary of the Turkish military intervention on Cyprus amid concerns about an imminent annexation of the island to Greece.
As part of the celebrations, the band of Security Forces Command, the small military force of Turkish Cyprus, will perform in Nicosia, while a band of the Turkish military forces on the island will appear in Kyrenia. They will both perform as part of a series of planned military shows.
The visit was announced by Erdoğan’s office on July 16 through a written statement, which said he would meet Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and other senior Turkish Cypriot leaders, where he will discuss ongoing reunification talks.
Erdoğan and Akıncı had engaged in a public war of words shortly after the latter’s election as president over how to define the relationship between Turkish Cyprus and Turkey. Akıncı said the relationship should be based on “two equal independent states” while Erdoğan stressed Turkey’s role as the main “homeland” looking after around 200,000 Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus has no better chance than now to strike a U.N.-brokered peace deal, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the Greek Cypriot parliament on July 17.
“You have to do it now, immediately, because this is an enormous window of opportunity. You have to do it, all together, but you will not have to do it alone,” Juncker said.
“The European Union will follow this process day by day and if it is completed, the money will be there. I am not promising money, I am describing the future of this great nation,” he added.
Juncker described the current negotiations as a “crucial moment for Cyprus history.”
Long-stalled U.N.-brokered peace talks were launched on May 15 following the election of Akıncı in April.
Turkish Cyprus has also seen a cabinet change recently, with Akıncı approving last week a new coalition government cabinet under Prime Minister Ömer Kalyoncu. The move comes after former Prime Minister Ozkan Yorgancıoğlu stepped down on July 4 after losing a party leadership vote in June.