The English Always Were Sneaky

Not many hours had passed after I published my commentary “Elections and Turkish Faits Accomplis” – in which I noted that “this column and this newspaper is concerned about the course of Greek-Turkish relations” – when the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Europe and the Americas issued an unacceptable statement.

A statement that was unexpected by all – unless the Cypriot government had some indication – a statement that shows the magnitude of the problem we are facing.

So, in his statement, if Sir Alan Duncan did not give support to Turkey’s aggressive plans for drilling in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and if it did not give Ankara a green light, he certainly gave them an excuse – not that they needed one – to do whatever they think they should do.

Please note that his statement made it to the session of the House of Commons!

It therefore expresses his country’s policy.

“Yesterday,” he said, “I met with the Turkish ambassador, and had a very constructive talk with him. The position of the United Kingdom is that, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, exploratory drilling cannot be conducted in any area in which the sovereignty is disputed.”

So, while the Republic of Cyprus says the exact opposite – that the area in which Turkey is now drilling belongs to its own Exclusive Economic Zone – Sir Alan Duncan undermined the legal framework Cyprus is relying on to prove its case: The UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.

Nicosia, of course, reacted with rage.

The Cypriot President will protest to the British Prime Minister.

The Cypriot Ambassador in London is also taking action. And the Cypriot Federation of London is responding in its own way.

Woe to us if we did not respond like that, but, in the end, are we merely impressing and reassuring each other without achieving substantive results? Did we compel the British Minister to retract his statement?

Actions have consequences. Shouldn’t we have looked more seriously at the possible consequences of our actions before we set in motion chains of events that might end up damaging us in one way or another?


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