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Turkey creates great tension in its relations with Greece and Cyprus, Defence Minister says

By ignoring the international law, Turkey creates great tension in its relations with Greece and Cyprus, continues its illegal actions in the Republic of Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) while at the same time it shows its real expansionist and offensive intentions as regards Famagusta and Greece’s continental shelf, Cyprus Defence Minister, Charalambos Petrides, has said.

Speaking during a memorial service on Saturday, Petrides noted that the resumption of the talks on the Cyprus problem from where they were suspended in Crans-Montana remains a firm and non-negotiable position.

He said that the current state of affairs cannot constitute the settlement of the Cyprus problem and that the aim of any new effort can be no other than the achievement of a comprehensive solution of the problem on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, as provided by the UN Security Council resolutions and according to the principles of the international law and the EU acquis.

“We want a settlement that is fully compatible with our EU membership,” he underlined.

To this end, he added, “we turn to the international community and the European family, and we denounce Turkey’s illegal actions.”

He also recalled that the heads of the seven Mediterranean EU member states (MED7) expressed in their recent Joint Declaration their full support and solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, sending a clear message to Turkey.

If Turkey really wants a sincere dialogue with Cyprus, Greece and the EU it must prove this in practice, he underlined.

Petrides also said that the ongoing threats and provocative announcements of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot puppet regime as regards the fenced off city of Famagusta are opposed, among others, to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

He noted that despite the current deadlock the Cyprus government, and first of all President Nicos Anastasiades, is working to terminate the occupation and to achieve  the country’s reunification.

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.

Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Ankara sent on several occasions its seismic research vessel ‘Barbaros’ to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), following the Republic of Cyprus’ decision, in 2011, to start exploratory offshore drilling. After May 2019, Turkey caused a stir by sending consecutively two drill ships, “Fatih” and “Yavuz”, to conduct unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, at times in areas licensed by Cyprus to international energy companies.

The European Council reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and in February 2020, placed two persons under restrictive measures, in relation to Turkey`s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus should be extended to include Varosha.

(CNA)

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