In a bid to break a stalemate and stop Turkey from drilling for energy in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has reportedly offered to give occupying Turkish-Cypriots 30 percent of any revenues obtained from oil and gas but it was shot down by Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Anastasiades reached out to Akinci with the proposal, Greek and Turkish media said, before they were due to meet later in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly annual opening.
In return for a 30 percent share, Turkey and Turkish-Cypriots would compromise with Cyprus over its EEZ without an explanation whether that would involve an end to Turkish drilling, which Erdogan said he wouldn’t do unless his country and Turkish-Cypriots were also involved in the licensing of foreign companies offshore.
The next day after their meeting, Anastasiades was said to have put the offer in writing conveyed the offer in a non-paper document, just for discussion purposes and not a binding agreement, but Akinci rejected it because it didn’t give his side licensing rights, reports said.
Anastasiades reportedly made that offer when the two met informally on Sept. 9 but it’s only now being reported as UN envoy Jane Holl Lute, an American diplomat, has been in a flourish of talks trying to restart reunification negotiations.
Those fell apart at the last round of meetings in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the northern third seized in an unlawful 1974 invasion and wanted the right to militarily intervene again.
Anastasiades earlier turned down a Turkish-Cypriot proposal for cooperation on the joint exploration and profit-sharing of hydrocarbon resources from the island’s waters, perpetuating a 45-year standoff with no indication it will be broken.
Turkey is continuing with the drilling, ignoring soft sanctions from the European Union which is cautious of provoking Erdogan, who threatened to flood Greek islands the bloc with 5.5 million refugees and migrants who went to his county as a jumping-off point.