The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) condemned the participation of Lazaras Mavros, believed to be affiliated to the so-called PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, in a military drill in the Greek Cypriot administration.
According to a written statement by the TRNC foreign ministry, Mavros’ name was one the fake passport found on Öcalan when he was caught.
The ministry described the incident as “provocative” and condemned the military activities.
“The support given to the PKK terrorist organization, which for years has caused the death of thousands of our brothers in Turkey, is an open indication that the Greek Cypriot side pursues the policy ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’,” it added, saying that words toward a peaceful future by the Greek Cypriot administration, “which does what it can to harm Turkey’s national interests and which fans the flames of anti-Turkish sentiment are insincere.”
The ministry further said that this attitude both harms the stability of the region while causing insecurity between the two peoples on the divided island.
The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement. Five decades of Cyprus talks have yielded no results.
The island has been divided since 1964 when ethnic attacks forced the Turkish Cypriots to retreat into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The TRNC was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the European Union in 2004, although in a referendum that year most Greek Cypriots rejected a United Nations settlement plan that envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the bloc.