NICOSIA – The United Nations wants revenues from potentially lucrative oil and gas finds off the coast of Cyprus to be distributed between the two sides of the divided island – an idea that Turkish-Cypriots had rejected.
The legitimate Greek-Cypriot government that’s a member of the European Union that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005 has licensed foreign companies to drill and offered to give 30 percent of monies to the occupied side.
But Turkey, which seized the northern third of the island in two unlawful 1974 invasions and keeps a 35,000-strong standing army here, rejected that offer, as did the leader of the self-declared republic in occupied territory.
Turkey is also unlawfully drilling in parts of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Turkish-Cypriot leaders previously said they wanted a hand in the licensing by Cyprus of foreign companies.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency news site said that the UN urged the two sides to collaborate over energy projects and that the resources should “constitute a strong incentive for the parties to urgently seek mutually acceptable and durable solutions to disagreements.”
That was written by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a report on developments on the island from Dec. 16, 2021 to June 14 this year, although it admitted there’s very low confidence for a settlement.
That’s largely because Turkish-Cypriot hardline leader Ersin Tatar won’t talk about reunification, which has eluded diplomats for decades, and demanded the UN and world recognize the occupied side accepted only by Turkey.
“The Turkish Cypriot political landscape has been characterized by uncertainty and increasing polarization. In the Republic of Cyprus, unofficial campaigning for the Presidential elections scheduled for February 2023 has started,” it also said.
“It should be recalled that the future of the process remains in the hands of the parties. As we continue to support them in seeking common ground, the parties’ display of political will and flexibility remain of paramount importance,” the UN chief said.
Like those before him, he has been unable to make any progress over the Cyprus question and was part of July, 2017 negotiations at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana that collapsed when Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriots said the army there would never leave and demanding the right to invade further.