Cyprus Mail

Turkey weighs in on bases development, slams UK and Cyprus

File photo: British bases

Turkey criticised the UK and Cyprus on Friday over an agreement allowing development of certain areas inside the British sovereign bases 60 years after independence.

In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said: “As we mentioned at the time of signing of this agreement, it is unacceptable that Turkey as a guarantor and the Turkish Cypriot side that signed the 1960 Treaties were not consulted on the content of this regulation, which entails a change of status in the base areas.”

Turkey said it supported the Turkish Cypriot position on the matter.

“In these areas, not only Greek Cypriots but also Turkish Cypriots have immovable properties, as well as indispensable rights and interests,” the statement said.

Lashing out at the UK, Ankara said the UK had ignored the Turkish Cypriots, and damaged the balance between the parties on the island, the principle of political equality and therefore efforts towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

In a statement on Thursday, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said: “We will not accept any amendments made in the British sovereign bases (SBA) without the consent and the approval of the Turkish Cypriot side.”

During a meeting with the British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie, Akinci added the Turkish Cypriots had rights in the areas within the bases.

He recalled the Turkish Cypriot side had expressed its objections to the agreement when it was signed in 2014.

The agreement concerns 18 square kilometres of around 254 square kilometres – or 3 per cent of the island’s territory — retained by former colonial ruler Britain in Akrotiri in Limassol, and Dhekelia, Larnaca, as sovereign territory used as military bases.

Under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, properties inside the two areas could only be used for agricultural purposes.

The agreement affects three municipalities, Ypsonas, Kato Polemidia, and Dherynia and 16 communities, Asomatos, Trachoni, Kolossi, Erimi, Sotira, Paramali, Avdimou, Akrotiri, Frenaros, Avgorou, Afheritos, Pyla, Ormidhia, Xylotympou, Xylofagou and Achna, in the districts of Limassol, Larnaca and Famagusta.

The arrangement between the two countries was made in 2014 between President Nicos Anastasiades and then British prime minister David Cameron.

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