Turkey on Friday decried the appointment of a force commander to the UN Peacekeeping Force on Cyprus (UNFICYP).
“In a period when we are preparing for the informal 5+UN meeting to be held in Geneva on 27-29 April, which will aim to determine whether common ground exits towards a settlement to the Cyprus issue, this approach in ignorance of the most basic UN principle of the equal treatment of the two sides on the Island, is highly unfortunate,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement, referring to the informal 5+1 meeting on Cyprus – including both sides on Cyprus, the three guarantor countries, plus the UN.
Aksoy’s remarks came after the appointment of Norwegian Maj. Gen. Ingrid Gjerde was announced by the UN on Wednesday.
He also stressed that Turkey supports the statement of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Foreign Ministry on the appointment, which, “contrary to established practices, was made without the information and approval of the TRNC authorities.”
“The UNFICYP operates in the TRNC territory within the context of TRNC authorities’ constructive and bona fide approach, still without a legal basis. It should not be forgotten that the ability of UNFICYP to carry out its operations depends on its cooperation with the TRNC authorities,” the statement added.
Ethnic attacks starting in early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw 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 to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence.
The TRNC was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted the UN’s Annan plan to end the decades-long dispute.