By Jean Christou
Nicosia on Tuesday called on “all those interested in the Cyprus problem” to turn to Ankara and ask Turkey to immediately put an end to its violation of the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“We call on all those who desire, can and truly want the Cyprus problem to be solved, to turn to Ankara, so that it will put an end to its illegal actions and thereby made it feasible for the dialogue [on the Cyprus problem] to resume,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said after a parade in Paphos to mark Ochi Day.
“There cannot be a dialogue if Turkey violates the sovereign rights of a member state of the United Nations and the European Union. It is a very clear indication that her (Turkey’s) goal is not the solution of the Cyprus problem.”
On October 20, Turkey sent its vessel, the Barbaros, into the islands’ EEZ after reserving the area for seismic surveys from that date until December 30. As of yesterday, the vessel was still there and was at one point only 12 nautical miles north-east of the ENI-KOGAS drillship Sapiem 10000, which is drilling in Block 9.
The announcement of Turkey’s plans early this month prompted the Greek Cypriot side to withdraw from the ongoing Cyprus negotiations.
“If Turkey really means what she publicly says about desiring the solution of the Cyprus problem, and this is a message to everyone interested about the Cyprus problem, then they should request from Turkey to work towards that end, to immediately put an end to whatever she is doing within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus,” Christodoulides said.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who was attending the parade in Limassol, said Turkey’s continued provocations were regrettable but he said ENI would not terminate its drilling in the area despite the actions of Ankara. ENI plans to drill six wells in the next 18 months.
Kasoulides also expressed disappointment in the international community because it had not put pressure on Turkey. The Cyprus government, he said, had made all of the representations and demarches that were possible in the circumstances.
Christodoulides, when asked about UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide’s visit to Ankara yesterday, said the government hoped the Norwegian diplomat would “send the right messages to Turkey”. “And the right message is what I have mentioned; that the negotiations cannot resume while Turkey violates the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.”
He said no one desired a solution to the Cyprus problem more than the Greek Cypriot side. “It is our country which is under occupation, we are the ones who want the Cyprus problem resolved more than anyone else, but it is not feasible to be negotiating under threats and intimidation,” he concluded.