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Greek FM to Die Welt: Turkey must respect international law

24/03/2017 Top Stories
Greek FM to Die Welt: Turkey must respect international law

Turkey must respect international law and withdraw its troops from Cyprus, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told German newspaper “Die Welt” in an interview published on Thursday.

“Turkey must understand that Cyprus is not a state which is being created now, as was happening in the years 1959-1960. Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and the European Union. No third country has the right to intervene there. Turkey must respect international law and withdraw its troops,” the minister was quoted as saying.

He said the Cypriot issue is about invasion and occupation of the island’s northern part from the Turkish army.

“Ankara violated the London and Zurich Agreements which foresaw that guarantor powers ? that is Greece, Britain and Turkey ? must agree on joint actions after joint talks. Turkey acted unilaterally and occupied the northern part of the island. And of course it didn’t stay for a few days – 43 years have gone by in the meantime,”he added.

According to Kotzias, a solution lies in assuring the maximum possible security and rights to the three small minorities (Armenians, Maronites and Latin-Catholics) and the Turkish-Cypriot community, but also in giving the Greek-Turkish community the largest possible security and rights.

“Security for Greek-Cypriots means withdrawal of the Turkish army and ending every form of guarantor rights which allow Turkey to intervene in Cyprus. The Turkish army must go. The system of guarantees must be abolished. We want a federal system that will create equal rights,” he said, adding the withdrawal could take place gradually, as was the case with the Soviet army in Eastern Germany.

Concerning the European Commission’s decision to reintroduce the Dublin Regulation rules which will allow member-states to return refugees to Greece, Kotzias strongly criticized the move.

“There are some countries in the EU who believe that they can use southern Italy and Greece as closed boxes where refugees can be stored. But this is not a European way of thinking.”

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