After Erdogan’s Power Grab Referendum, Greece Watching Over Cyprus

A woman is seen through a military battle position from a wall at the U.N buffer zone that divided the south, Greek Cypriot, and the north, Turkish Cypriot breakaway controlled areas in the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

ATHENS – Greek officials are keeping an eye on Cyprus, where Greece is a guarantor of security after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gained sweeping new powers in an April 16 referendum.

Turkey and the United Kingdom are also guarantors of security but the three have been unable to decide what role to take if renewed unity talks due to resume April 20 finally lead to an end of the island’s division which was split by an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974.

Nationalism is rising in Turkey along with Erdogan’s power and announcement that national elections in Turkey will go ahead as planned in 2019 has sparked concern that there may be a new round of volatile rhetoric.

Having won by only a narrow margin there is fear he will again appeal to nationalists to back him further. He’s said he won’t remove a Turkish army from Cyprus and wants the right to militarily intervene when he wants.

The closeness of the result is mainly attributed to the failure of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli to convince his party base to back the country’s Islamist President in the referendum, Kathimerini said.

Turkey is already continuing to reiterate its demand for a share of oil and gas if drilling off the island in Cyprus’ sovereign waters yields results.