Akinci Wants Review of UN Peacekeeping Force on Cyprus

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci hake hands after a press conference and their meeting in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot northern part of Cyprus' divided capital Nicosia, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA – With unity talks having collapsed, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci isn’t going along with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’ request for a United Nations peacekeeping force that’s been on the divided island for decades to have its mission extended.

Anastasiades said he wants an assessment of the so-called UNFICYP’s mandate to keep apart the two sides with Turkey still unlawfully occupying the northern third since a 1974 invasion split the island apart.

Akinci was responding to Anastasiades’ letter asking for the UNFICYP force to stay another six months, a routine procedure that has been approved every time but now is drawing a second look from the Turkish side in the aftermath of the reunification negotiations falling apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkey said it would never remove an army it keeps on Cyprus and wanted the right to militarily intervene.

Akinci said that even though UNFICYP has helped preserve stability on the island, it must take into consideration the current situation, with the opening in recent years of crossing points between the two sides and that there’s no basis for the cooperation with Turkish-Cypriots, said Kathimerini.

Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said he expects UNFICYP to continue its mission as long as there are Turkish occupation troops on the island even though Turkey is one of the guarantors of security, along with Greece and the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which still keeps a military base there.