In what is normally a rather typical statement in regard to the celebration of the United Nations Day, the Greek government on Friday took the opportunity to pinpoint and denounce what it calls “systematic violations” of the UN’s basic principles in Cyprus by Turkey.
Evangelos Venizelos, Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece said Ankara does not respect the sovereign rights of UN member countries, does not refrain from “offensive actions and threats in applying force”, is not “dedicated to the peaceful solution of differences”, and “does not respect international laws”.
Venizelos referred to Cyprus as “unfortunately, an actual example” of what he previously referred to regarding Ankara’s behaviour.
The Republic of Cyprus is recognized by all UN member states except Turkey, he said, and yet this country “40 years from the invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island, continues to violate brutally international law”.
The Greek minister referred to “recent activities” of the Turkish exploration vessel Barbaros in sea waters which he says are internationally designated as belonging and being part of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cyprus Republic.
“This is yet another violation,” he said, of the UN’s Law of the Sea Convention, in an area where Cyprus has the exclusive sovereign right to search for and exploit natural resources.
Greek media have been quick to underline the fact that almost all statements made by the Greek government on UN Day are focused on what it calls “recent offensive actions” by Turkey in Cyprus’ EEZ. Some regard this as “a deliberately chosen reminder to the UN that such offensive actions and violations have been exercised by Turkey in Cyprus for 40 years now”.
Political analysts have also noted that the Foreign Ministry’s statement could also be regarded as a reaction of sorts to what Athens saw as “a neutral encouragement” by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon towards both sides in Cyprus to return to their bicommunal negotiations, “without previously condemning Turkey’s recent behaviour”.