ANKARA - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reprimanded a Greek Cypriot member of the European Parliament who called Turkish troops in northern Cyprus "invaders," said news reports yesterday.
Angered by the parliamentarian’s gesture of a sarcastic nod to his statements, Erdoğan said: "Nod as much as you like. There is a nice saying in Turkish but it would not be appropriate for me to tell it here."
Turkey intervened on the island in 1974 in response to a coup by Athens-backed supporters of uniting Cyprus with Greece.
In his response, Erdoğan recalled the April 2004 referendum that resulted in the failure of a U.N.-backed peace plan, due to the rejection of the Greek Cypriots.
"Northern Cyprus kept its promise and 65 percent said ’yes’ to the Annan plan. In the south, 75 percent said ’no.’ Is what I say true or not? Did 75 percent of the Greek Cypriots say ’no’? I am asking you. Answer my question," said Erdoğan.
Matsakis took the microphone and said: "You are all talking about the 2004 referendum. You say Greek Cypriots have betrayed. We are in 2009, do not look to the past, look to the future. Speak with facts of 2009 from now on." "How nice," answered Erdoğan. "You are speaking just like you are a journalist. I am not speaking just like a journalist." Erdoğan said it was Greek Cyprus that joined the European Union in May 2004, although it betrayed the EU. "What did (German) Chancellor Angela Merkel say? She said the accession of Greek Cyprus was a mistake."