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Tripartite cooperation not a shield from Turkish provocations, Kyprianou says

Andros Kyprianou

RECENT Turkish provocations shatter the myth the government is attempting to cultivate that its tripartite co-operations shield Cyprus against all foreign threats, the general-secretary of mail opposition party Akel, Andros Kyprianou, said on Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the antiracist demonstration organised in view of the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination, Kyprianou said that acts of Turkish aggression were unacceptable and must be condemned.

On Thursday night it was reported that a Turkish seismic ship ‘harassed’ two oil tankers international waters south of Limassol. According to the Sigma channel, the incident occurred at about 13.5 nautical miles – in international waters – southeast of Vasilikos, Limassol. The Barbaros is carrying out an unauthorised ‘seismic survey’ inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. The vessel will be conducting the surveys until May 26.

Such provocations offered proof that Cyprus remains vulnerable to external threats, despite attempts to create a façade of invincibility created through the government’s partaking in trilateral cooperation meetings, he said.

“I want to make clear that we are not against tripartite meetings,” Kyprianou said. “We believe that they are a step in the right direction, provided of course that they aim to transform Cyprus into a bridge of cooperation with neighbouring peoples and also aim to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem, as well as towards allowing us make unobstructed use of our rich natural resources.”

Results towards these ends, however, were poor, Kyprianou noted.

In view of the developments in Cyprus’ EEZ, Kyprianou said, “the government must realise that it is only through the solution of the Cyprus problem, which will allow the resumption of talks with Turkey regarding the issue of hydrocarbon utilisation in the broader eastern Mediterranean, that conditions of peace and stability can be created.”

His comments came three days says after the latest trilateral summit between Cyprus, Israel and Greece was held in Jerusalem. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also participated, which according to the government constituted Washington’s seal of approval for the ongoing trilateral meetings.
The government responded to Kyprianou later on Saturday saying it had through its foreign policy actions “strengthened the international position of our country”.

“It is clear that we are increasing our international support and capabilities to stand against the machinations of Turkey, whether it be through the network of tripartite partnerships… or with explicit support of our partners and EU institutions,” the statement said.

Turkey on the other hand chooses to take the “path of challenges, threats and artificial crises”. The tripartites, it added send a clear message of cooperation for stability and collective security in the region.

“It is no coincidence that this grid of tripartite relations is a focus of interest and leads to active engagement by the big powers.” “If Akel, which talks about ‘poor results knows a more effective way that will immediately stop the completely unacceptable actions and challenges from Turkey, perhaps a magic bullet, we would be grateful to hear it,” it concluded.

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