Tsipras Rejects Turkish Intervention Demands on Cyprus

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a dinner hosted by the AHEPA and the AHI, in Washington, Oct. 16, 2017. Photo: PM Press Office/Andrea Bonetti via Eurokinissi

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking out three months after Cyprus unity talks collapsed, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras said he would never have accepted Turkish demands to be allowed to militarily intervene again on the island it unlawfully invaded in 1974.

The talks between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci fell apart over that Turkish insistence along with its refusal to fully remove an army on the island, which – apart from the occupied territories – belongs to the European Union that Turkey wants to join even as it bars Cypriot ships and planes and refuses to recognize the legitimate government.

“[Greece] will not accept a united Cyprus whose security is guaranteed by Turkey under the threat of military intervention,” he said said at an event in Washington held in his honor by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), reported Kathimerini.

He also went to Chicago before going to Washington to meet with US President Donald Trump and Greek-American community leaders. He had not spoken out forcefully on Cyprus during the negotiations or in the immediate aftermath of the talks collapse with critics saying he was afraid of provoking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who continually threatens to let human traffickers flood Greek islands with more refugees and migrants.

“We have – and will continue to have – an active policy of resolving the Cyprus issue on the basis of a fair and viable solution outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” he said, adding that he hoped the Turkish side “would sit again at the table to continue talks on this basis.” Greece, however,  continues to back Turkey’s hopes of joining the EU.

He also said he told Anastasiades that he would raise the issue with Trump during their meeting in the White House but there were no reports he did.