Turkey’s Foreign Minister Blames Cyprus for Unity Talks Failure

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, file)

The collapse of talks to reunify Cyprus in 2017 were the fault of the Cypriot government, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, saying his country had done all it could to solve the problem short of removing an army and wanting the right to militarily intervene.

Those conditions were the reason Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades gave for walking away from the negotiating table at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana and why he said they are not being resumed.

But Cavusoglu, speaking at an event, said Turkey had brought new ideas to the discussions.  

“Following the collapse of talks in Crans-Montana for a Federal settlement, it is Turkey which has brought other options to the table and which insists that all the sides should agree on what we shall be discussing before we launch a new process of negotiations. We are also holding unofficial talks to that end. What is the aim of all of this? To achieve a result,” Cavusoglu argued, according to Turkish Cypriot media reports.

There was no report on what those ideas and options were and as Turkey continues to warn foreign energy companies not to drill for oil and gas off the island where they are licensed to explore in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey disputes.

“We are looking out for Turkey’s and the Turkish Cypriot people’s rights. Previously we would only have the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa vessel conduct seismic surveying in the area. But today we have our own drilling platform. Drilling platform Alanya 1 has commenced drilling in its area. Our second platform is to arrive in the coming days. So we have begun conducting our own drilling activities within our Exclusive Economic Zone as well as areas licensed by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” said Cavusoglu.

Turkey has occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion and has demanded a share of any potentially lucrative energy finds – to which Anastasiades agreed – but Turkey said it wants Turkish-Cypriots to have a say in the licensing as well.

The Cypriot government charged that Turkey violated procedure by failing to get its approval before issuing a NAVTEX navigational warning reserving a maritime area south of Cyprus for live-fire exercises, Kathimerini reported .

Cypriot government sources told state broadcaster RIK that Cyprus’ sovereign rights had not been violated as the exercises were to take place outside Cyprus’ territorial waters.

Cyprus then issued its own NAVTEX,  warning that the safety of ships in the area of the Turkish Navtex was not ensured.

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