The Turkish president on Monday, marking the 46th anniversary of Turkey's peace operation on Cyprus, called for a "fair and permanent" solution to the island dispute.
"A fair, permanent solution on Cyprus is only possible with the acceptance of equal status for Turkish Cypriots," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a written statement.
Greek Cypriots, he said, must acknowledge the political equality of Turkish Cypriots, and their equal rights over the island's natural resources without any delay.
Every year the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) celebrates July 20 as its Peace and Freedom Day to mark the operation -- a large-scale military intervention -- to protect Turkish Cypriots from violence that struck the island in 1974.
The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north, and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at its annexation by Greece.
Turkey's military intervention stopped years-long persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.
The president congratulated Turkish Cypriots on the occasion, "which ultimately eliminated the attempt to harm the law, freedom and existence of Turkish Cypriots, the co-owners of the island."
"This operation has shown the world what Turkish Cypriots can risk when their fundamental rights are violated, their freedom is threatened, and their presence and survival are intended to be harmed,” he said.
"Turkish Cypriots... are struggling for equality for more than 50 years... [have] fought despite all kinds of pressures and threats, and claimed their rights and freedom."
Turkey, Erdogan added, will continue to be their assurance of peace, welfare, and stability.
”As always, Turkey will make every effort to protect Turkish Cypriots' rights, and rule of law. I commemorate our saint martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for liberation, and our veterans with gratitude and respect. I present my best wishes for peace, welfare, and happiness of our brothers and sisters in the TRNC."