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Politics

Cyprus Still Hopes for Turkish Good Will, Reunification Talks Restart

September 1, 2020

Cyprus reunification talks have been dead in the water for more than three years now but Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said he still hopes they can be rebooted if Turkey, which occupies the northern third, is willing to do so.

“A solution to the Cyprus problem in line with the EU acquis and international law, without anachronistic guarantees and the presence of the Turkish army, a solution safeguarding human rights which creates the conditions for lasting stability remains the President’s main aim,” Petrides said.

He was referring to President Nicos Anastasiades, during a memorial service for those who lost their lives in Mandres, a village in Famagusta, during the unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion, the Cyprus Mail reported.

The last round of negotiations fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied side and wanted the right to militarily intervene again.

That led Anastasiades to walk away from the United Nations-brokered talks and Petrides said that, “Turkey with is unacceptable and aggressive stance in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone causes even greater problems in the efforts to resume the negotiating process.”

That was in reference to Turkey drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, not recognizing part of the island's EEZ and wanting Turkish-Cypriots to have the right to take part in licensing foreign companies to hunt for energy.

Petrides also said Turkey's plans to reopen the closed-off abandoned former resort of Famagusta on the occupied side, defying a UN resolution, is another obstacle that has to be overcome.

Turkey doesn't recognize Cyprus, a member of the EU that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005, while barring its ships and planes, another problem for the legitimate government.

“All of the above show the lack of any good intention on behalf of Turkey to cooperate for reaching a solution,” said Petrides without explaining why he has hopes for them to talk again.

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