Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis on Tuesday reiterated that the Cyprus issue is a top priority of Greece's foreign policy, as the end of the illegal Turkish occupation of one-third of the island constitutes a condition for the full normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations.
Commenting on the 37th anniversary of the Turkish invasion on Cyprus (July 20, 1974) and on statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Lambrinidis also noted that Athens "strongly supports Cyprus President Demetris Christofias' initiatives and efforts for achieving a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, one based on UN Security Council's resolutions and on the EU's principles, values and acquis.
"The people of Cyprus must know that they will always have Greece by their side in the just struggle for their country's reunification," the Greek foreign minister added.
Referring to Erdogan's statements, Lambrinidis said that "just before his illegal visit to the occupied areas in Cyprus, the Turkish Prime Minister 'threatens' with the freezing of Turkey's relations with the European Union, with plan 'B' regarding the solution of the Cyprus issue and, as an owner of part of the territory of Cyprus, with no return of the areas of Morphou and Rizokarpasso. These declarations show yet again that the essence of the Cyprus issue is the invasion and the ongoing occupation," he said, adding:
"Instead of showing the necessary political will for a mutually accepted solution of the Cyprus problem, Turkey tries in vain to dictate to the EU its composition and its way of functioning," the Greek foreign minister concluded.
Erdogan, who was due to visit the occupied areas on Tuesday afternoon, repeated that Turkey does not recognise Republic of Cyprus, a UN and EU member-state, adding that no one should expect any move by Ankara regarding the fenced off area of Varosha.