NICOSIA -- An offer by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell to be the middleman in talks between Cyprus and Turkey was dismissed out of hand when Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said it can’t happen because it doesn’t accept the Cypriot government.
Hami Aksoy, spokesman for Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the scheme was “far from serious” because Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus - a member of the European Union - and bars its ships and planes despite joining the bloc on May 1, 2004.
Turkey has long claimed the democratically-elected government of Cyprus doesn’t represent the island, where the northern third has been occupied by Turkish-Cypriots since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.
“The said proposal is far from being serious made by the same EU which always ignores the existence of the Turkish Cypriots and has never referred to their equal rights over the natural resources of the Island in any of its statements,” said Aksoy.
Turkey is drilling in Cypriot waters for oil and gas after rejecting an offer by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, whose government has licensed foreign companies to operate there, to share 30 percent of revenues with Turkish-Cypriots.
Turkey said that it wants the Turkish side to have a hand in licensing for drilling and proceeded on its own, adding to growing tension that the friction could produce a conflict, with the EU issuing only soft sanctions against Turkey, which haven’t worked.
Aksoy said the Cypriot government must negotiate with the Turkish-Cypriot government which no other country in the world apart from Turkey recognizes, and as Turkey has a 35,000-strong army on the occupied side.
Aksoy stressed that Turkey will never sit at the table with the Greek Cypriot administration that has usurped the title of The Republic of Cyprus and does not represent the Turkish- Cypriots, reported Turkey’s English-language Hurriyet Daily News.
Repeated talks aimed at reunifying the island have floundered for decades, the last round collapsing in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said their army would never be removed and they wanted the right of military intervention.