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Turkish Provocations Derail New Cyprus Unity Talk Hopes

December 5, 2019

Hopes of restarting collapsed Cyprus unity talks appeared sidelined again over Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, including continuing to drill for oil and gas in the island’s sovereign waters.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said the atmosphere isn’t right now for resumption of the talks even as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was hoping to do so as soon as possible.

“For a dialogue to yield positive results and not just hold talks for the sake of talks, there must be a proper environment. And a proper environment would by no means allow this behavior on the part of Turkey,”

Christodoulides told Greece’s state-run news agency ANA-MPA on the sidelines of an event held in his honor at the Society for Macedonian Studies, citing the ongoing Turkish drilling he said has created regional instability.

“We are ready for talks on the basis of international law,” he said, although Turkey doesn’t recognize the UN’s Laws of the Seas and has ignored calls by Cypriot’s legitimate government as well as the United States and European Union to stop drilling. 

The last round of talks 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 standing army on the northern third of the island occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion.

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