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Politics

Meeting UN Envoy, Turkish-Cypriot Leader Avoids Drilling Talk

December 13, 2021

NICOSIA – Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, in a meeting with Colin Stewart, head of the United Nation’s Peackeeping fore (UNFICYP) on the divided island, didn’t mention Turkey drilling for oil and gas off the island.

Tatar, who said he won’t even try for reunification but only the UN’s recognition for the northern third occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion, generally talked around issues in a chit-chat session.

He told Stewart that there could be a resolution to the dilemma if the Greek-Cypriot side would accept what the Turkish-Cypriots and Turkey wants, calling it cooperation.

In a report, Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah, an outlet for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Tatar said he was ready to meet Greek-Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, who has rejected the two-state demand.

Tatar told Stewart the minority Turkish-Cypriot side won’t give up any rights after having turned down Anastasiades’ offer of 30 percent of potentially lucrative energy revenues from fields where the legitimate government has authorized foreign companies to hunt for oil and gas.

Stewart, given his neutral position, said he respected the positions of all parties on both sides, the report said, although the drilling question never came up in the general discussion meeting.

Before the two sat down, Tatar’s office put out a statement blaming the Greek-Cypriot side for the tension created by his demands and for licensing ExxonMobil and its partner Qatar Petroleum to hunt for energy.

“This unilateral step, disregarding all our warnings, reaffirms the Greek–Cypriot administration’s usurpation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, as well as the denial of those of Turkey in the region,” it added.

“In the face of the Greek Cypriot side’s persistence to carry out such activities, we, in collaboration with Motherland Turkey, will continue to resolutely protect and preserve our rights and interests in the region,” the statement said, Tatar having earlier indicated he would do whatever Erdogan said.

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