By Ugur Cil, Anadolu Agency

The president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has said Greek Cypriots will either unite with Turks equally or live in separate states peacefully.

Speaking on Monday at a news conference with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag in Lefkosa, Mustafa Akinci recalled that the two communities on the island had tried a bi-communal state in 1960, which only survived three years, and said the Enosis [union with Greece] aspiration of Greek Cypriots brought separation and conflict.

Referring to the recent failed peace talk in Switzerland, Akinci said: “They [Greek side] will either share governance with us [Turkish side], which they have failed to achieve in Crans-Montana, or they will discuss and settle on the conditions to live under separate roofs, side by side.”

Akdag stated that Turkey would do its best as a guarantor country in Cyprus.

The TRNC “is viable and can stand alone with its deep-rooted traditions,” Akdag said during a meeting with Turkish Cypriot Parliament Speaker Sibel Siber. 

“Thus, the TRNC has the power to sustain its development, boost welfare and do what is necessary to make its people happier.”

Siber said the TRNC was a state with democracy, a parliament, judicial system and government and added: “We expect the world to respect them.”

“If there is a real solution here, it is obvious that a solution cannot be reached by ignoring the social existence of one side,” she said.

The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup was followed by Turkey’s intervention as a guarantor power. 

Akdag also met TRNC premier Huseyin Ozgurgun, who said the whole region had benefited from the peaceful environment created by Turkey, saying there had been no bloodshed on the island since the 1974 Turkish intervention.

“We have reached these days with the support of Turkey,” Ozgurgun said.

“Prosperity has increased significantly in both the TRNC and Greek Cyprus within the secure and peaceful environment provided by the Turkish Armed Forces and the motherland, Turkey,” he added. 

There has been an on-and-off peace process over recent years, with the latest initiative in Crans-Montana, Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K., collapsing earlier this year.

Turkey has blamed Greek Cypriot intransigence for the latest talks’ failure and also faulted the European Union for admitting Cyprus as a divided island into the union in 2004, after Greek Cyprus rejected a peace deal.