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Proposed Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees to Southern Turkey and Northern Cyprus Sparks Controversy

Turkey is currently formulating a plan to relocate a substantial number of Palestinian refugees, aiming to resettle up to 250,000 individuals from the Gaza Strip to Kurdish-dominated regions in Southern Turkey and to Northern Cyprus. This strategy, as detailed in a report by the US-based GIS/Defence & Foreign Affairs Group, includes cooperation between Turkey, Qatar, Hamas, and an unexpected partnership with Israel.

In a recent development that has caught the attention of international observers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest visit to Greece is now being viewed in a new light. Sources close to diplomatic channels suggest that this visit, initially perceived as a step towards improving bilateral relations, had a more strategic agenda. It is believed that President Erdogan aimed to garner support from the Greek government for Turkey’s ambitious plan to resettle Palestinian refugees in Southern Turkey and Northern Cyprus. This visit, therefore, might have been a strategic move by President Erdogan to secure regional backing for a plan that not only impacts the geopolitical dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean but also involves sensitive issues surrounding the Palestinian refugee crisis and the complex relations with Israel and Cyprus. This adds a layer of complexity to Erdogan’s diplomatic efforts, highlighting the multifaceted nature of international relations in the region.

The initiative, is framed as a “humanitarian transfer and relocation” project, with plans to move 200,000 to 250,000 Palestinians. A significant portion of these refugees is also projected to be relocated to Northern Cyprus, specifically targeting the Greater Famagusta area.

According to the report, Turkey’s strategy serves several strategic objectives. It establishes Turkey as an Islamic humanitarian leader, supported by a “Special Fund” dedicated to Palestinians. The resettlement in Northern Cyprus is also interpreted as a move towards legitimizing the authority there. Furthermore, this strategy is closely linked to Turkey’s attempts to normalize relations with Israel, dovetailing with Israel’s own objectives to move Palestinians out of its territories, suggesting a coordinated geostrategic collaboration between the two countries.

The report further mentions Turkey’s larger goal of creating an international entity under the auspices of the United Nations, to lead a comprehensive peace initiative aimed at resolving the Palestinian issue.

Notably, though this report initially appeared on the Turkish Cypriot website Bugun Kipris, it has not been extensively reported on by Turkish or other Turkish Cypriot media outlets. However, it is currently being circulated through the NKD network.

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