Cypriot and Greek government officials this week expressed shock and disappointment at claims by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Sunday that "there is no country named Cyprus" ahead of a fresh effort by the United Nations to broker a deal between the two communities on the divided island.
The government spokesperson in Nicosia Christos Stylianides expressed "surprise and concern" at Erdogan's statement, which he said made it all the more necessary for the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot sides to agree on a "joint statement" setting out the basic principles for a Cyprus settlement to avoid a fresh deadlock.
The Turkish Prime Minister was quoted last Sunday in the Turkish-Cypriot daily Kibris as saying: "There is no country named Cyprus. There is the local administration of south Cyprus."
The Greek Foreign Ministry through its spokesperson responded by saying: "The Turkish prime minister's disputing the very existence of the Republic of Cyprus should finally awaken the international community as to Turkey's true intentions regarding the Cyprus issue".