Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged the leaders of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the divided eastern Mediterranean island to boost their population to match that of the Republic of Cyprus in the south of the island, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.
Saying the economic power of the population increased roughly in parallel to its size, Erdoğan said that, “achieving balance with the south would benefit the Cypriot Turkish people”. That would mean quadrupling the population of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Erdoğan said Turkish Cypriot authorities should also encourage their countrymen abroad to invest and settle in the breakaway state as a first step.
Turkey is alone in recognising the Turkish Cypriot administration in the northern third of the island that it invaded in 1974, while the rest of the world recognises the Republic of Cyprus in the south as the legitimate government of the whole island.
Erdoğan also had harsh words for Afrika, a Turkish Cypriot newspaper that was besieged by nationalists after its criticised of Turkey’s operation in the region of Afrin in northern Syria, and for Greeks and Greek Cypriots undertaking energy exploration in the seas around the island without consulting the residents of the north.