ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's president on Monday rebuked the newly elected leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state for suggesting that Turkey should deal with northern Cyprus as an equal.
Mustafa Akinci, who has pledged to focus his energy on achieving an accord reunifying Cyprus, was elected president on Sunday. He says he favors a relationship "between brothers" with Turkey — not one where the "motherland" dictates terms.
In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey finances northern Cyprus' budget, has made sacrifices for it, and will continue to consider it as its "child."
"Do his ears hear what comes out of his mouth?" Erdogan asked.
Akinci, who was being interviewed live on CNN-Turk television as Erdogan spoke, responded: "Does Turkey not want to see the child grow?"
He then cut the interview short, saying he had to take a telephone call from Erdogan.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of uniting the island with Greece.
Akinci's election has revived hopes for the reunification talks next month, but any deal would require cooperation from Turkey.
Earlier, Erdogan issued a message congratulating Akinci on his victory but also warning that Turkey would not accept an approach for a solution for Cyprus "that would come at any cost."