Following the uproar from Greek Cypriot political parties that the new US Ambassador to Nicosia greeted uniformed Turkish military top brass at a reception, the US State Department issued a written statement.
The department’s Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner clarified the his country’s position on Cyprus.
The statement said that when he replied ‘no’ to a question put to him on 10th November as to whether or not the US recognises the “occupation”, he meant that the US does not recognise the TRNC in the north.
“We fully support the UN-facilitated process under UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide, and we reiterate our willingness to assist the process in any way the parties find useful,” he said. The US position on Cyprus has not changed, he said.
Toner added that “as we have made clear, we are encouraged by the progress Cypriot leaders have made in recent months. We encourage the parties to reach a settlement as soon as possible to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region”.
“The United States does not recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” he said.
Last week the new US Ambassador to Cyprus hosted as social event at the Merit Hotel in North Nicosia. Amongst others, it was attended by by Lieutenant General Ilias Bozkurt, commander of the Turkish forces in Cyprus (pictured shaking Dogherty’s hand), and Brigadier General Erhan Uzun, commander of the Turkish Cypriot security forces.
According to Turkish daily ‘Milliyet’, it was normal for members of the Turkish military to be invited. However, it was the first time that the high ranking officers had turned up in uniform, the paper noted.
‘Milliyet’ posted comments made by an unnamed diplomat, who was quoted as saying that “it is very significant that the Turkish army was invited to the USA’s reception in Cyprus. It is a signal of trust by the USA to the Turkish army.”