Still hoping to reunify Cyprus 45 years after an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion, President Nicos Anastasiades said the major obstacle is what he said is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “vision of a new Ottoman Empire,” including an energy invasion off the coast.
He and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met informally on Aug. 9 and are set to talk on the sidelines of the United Nations annual General Assembly opening in New York in September despite both sides blaming each other for the failure to find a solution.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 20th World Conference of Overseas Cypriots of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the Youth of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK), in Nicosia, he said Turkey is blocking an answer.
A catalyst has been Erdogan sending two energy drillships into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize – as it doesn’t the legitimate government, a member of the European Union Turkey has been trying to join since 2005.
Anastasiades said he won’t agree to any settlement that will cause insecurity to Greek Cypriots, the Cyprus News Agency said – which is what the Turkish side has said about its interests, perpetuating the stalemate and standoff for decades.
He told diaspora organizations, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors, as well as government members and officials the effort of “a politician who finds himself on the exit course is not how to see his homeland run even more risks, but to see how to provide for future generations” and how to leave behind a safe country, guaranteeing peaceful coexistence.
“I have therefore no reason to refuse to enter into dialogue, or to deny the efforts that need to be made in order to counter the faits accomplis which are being recorded every year, unfortunately to the detriment of the Greek-Cypriot side” he said.
He had previously said Erdogan wants to take over the island, as the Turkish leader has defied soft EU sanctions, Cyprus, Greece – which along with Turkey and the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom is a guarantor of security – and American warnings to stop drilling.
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Antonis Diamataris said the Diaspora stands by Cyprus and would “until the final justification,” for the divided country.
Representing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Diamataris said the Premier has unwavering feelings for the Cypriot cause and that for Hellenism there are no margins for retreats or losses.
PSEKA President Philip Christopher said he hoped the energy pact of the Eastern Mediterranean Partnership will bring the US closer to Cyprus. “It is our hope that Israel and Greece and Cyprus will become the rock of a new foreign policy of the USA” he added.