Greek Cypriot efforts for a Cyprus settlement meet Turkey’s intransigence, senior official says 

Until now, all efforts of the Greek Cypriot side are being met with intransigence on the part of Turkey, while Ankara escalates its provocations to the detriment of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, said Theodosis Tsiolas, the Secretary of the Council of Ministers, while calling Turkish claims “unacceptable.”

Tsiolas, speaking at the Acheritou Remembrance Day, in the church of St. Demetrios, said that despite this, the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has declared his willingness to resume settlement talks and awaits, after his recent meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, that the Turkish side will come forward and negotiate in a serious and substantial manner.

The six parameters set out by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the 2017 Conference on Cyprus, in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, should be guiding this effort, along with UN resolutions and EU values and principles, Tsiolas added.

He said that Turkey distorts the general principle of political equality and “wants to take control of the federal polity through the requirement for a Turkish Cypriot positive vote on every state decision”. Furthermore, Ankara wants to substitute the exercise of sovereign rights by the Cypriot state with a makeshift ‘joint committee’ to administer hydrocarbons, the Secretary of the Council of Ministers added.

He said that through the latest provocations in Cyprus territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone, Turkey undermines the efforts of Antonio Guterres to establish the appropriate conditions for the dialogue to resume.

It is time for all to unite and stand behind the President of Cyprus in order to reach a real Cyprus settlement, that will put an end to Turkey’s occupation and reunite the country, Tsiolas concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and send on 4 May 2019 the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s north-eastern coast on 8 July 2019.

In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.