Cyprus' Guarantors, Not Energy Seen Holding Up Unity Hopes

Αssociated Press

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (Julien Warnand, Pool Photo via AP, FILE)

With Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci expected to talk on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly opening in New York in September, the key obstacle to reunification remains whether Turkey will keep its demand to have an army.

Turkey has increased the stakes and tension by sending drillships into Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to hunt for energy near where foreign companies have been licensed to search for oil and gas.

But the key obstacle remains whether Turkey will give up its right as one of the guarantors of security where it has occupied the northern third since an unlawful 1974 invasion. Greece and the former Colonial ruler, the United Kingdom, are the other guarantors, along with a UN peacekeeping force.

A source who wasn't identified told the Cyprus Mail that the Turkish army – along with demands by Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to have the right of military intervention – were more critical than even the energy feud.

The source also said consultations have been underway to set the date of the National Council, where Anastasiades is expected to brief political leaders on the outcome of his informal meeting on Aug. 9 with Akinci.

Cyprus' legitimate government, a member of the European Union, is said to waiting for Turkeys' reaction to a proposal by Anastasiades to include in any new talks agreements reached previously and pick up where negotiations left off when they collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, the security problem still the reason for the stalemate that continues.