President: Turkish Cypriot protests a 'ray of hope'

Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias called the recent protest demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots on the occupied sector of Cyprus a "ray of hope", as he greeted Cyprus Social-Democrat (EDEK) party leader Yannakis Omirou on arrival at the Presidential Mansion in Athens on Thursday.

Omirou, in turn, said that the demonstrations' message to Ankara is for Turkey to get out of Cyprus, adding that the Turkish Cypriot demonstrators, who are putting forward chiefly political, rather than economic, issues, consider that Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offended them and is pushing them to abandon their home, which will lead to the loss of the Turkish Cypriot element.

He further called for a joint front and struggle to end the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

"It appears that it has now been realised that if the 'guardian' situation of the Turkish Cypriot community, which is a lethal danger for the Turkish Cypriots, continues, there will be an expiration date for the Turkish Cypriot element," Omirou said, noting that before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, according to a census, the Turkish Cypriots numbered 124,000 whereas the number today has plunged to just 75-80,000.

"And supposedly, the Turkish invasion, as Ecevit had said at the time, was to 'save' the Turkish Cypriots," Omirou stressed.

Papoulias and Omirou agreed that the protests are an exceptionally interesting and positive, as well as unexpected, development.


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