NICOSIA – Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on May 2 are set to resume talks in an attempt to reunify the island divided since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion, with mixed optimism and pessimism still abounding.
Undercutting the effort is Turkey’s plan to go ahead with energy research in Cypriot sovereign waters as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan becomes more aggressive after narrowly winning an April 16 referendum giving him near-dictatorial powers.
The Cyprus Mail said Turkey was pushing for a new conference in Geneva to get Cyprus to stop drilling offshore in its own waters.
The agenda for the meeting was set last by technical negotiators of the two sides along with UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide who was accused by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias of favoring Turkey.
Eide, whose constant predictions of imminent breakthroughs were all wrong, again said the talks are going well even though they aren’t, the two leaders said, disagreeing with their own broker.
The Cyprus News Agency reported that during the meeting the leaders are expected to discuss how to govern the island if there’s a deal and issues relating to the European Union, to which Cyprus already belongs, excepting the occupied northern third settled by Turks, who subsequently stole homes and properties.
The newspaper Phileleftheros and other media said Turkey wants the Geneva conference as a means of presenting the Cypriot government with “blackmail and dilemmas’ and that this was primarily being orchestrated to freeze the energy plans..
The Turkish seismic survey vessel Barbaros has been sitting offshore for a week, ready to enter Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.