Attacks on Muslim houses of worship on Cyprus will “not go unanswered”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following an arson incident at a mosque.
“Unfortunately there was an [attempt] against our mosques in southern Cyprus. Of course, this operation in southern Cyprus will not go unanswered,” Erdogan told reporters on Monday before departing for Qatar on a two-day visit.
Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported at least one suspect was detained following a December 2 attempt to burn the Grand Mosque in the city of Larnaca. No one was hurt in the incident.
“This is what we are telling southern Cyprus: do not carry out such acts of sabotage against our houses of worship. The price you will have to pay for such acts of sabotage will be heavy,” Erdogan said.
Cyprus split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. Turkey is the only nation to recognise a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island and does not recognise Cyprus as a state.