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Ankara acting like a regional bully, says president

Anastasiades Government Anastasiades Nicos 09
President Nicos Anastasiades

President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday harangued Turkey over its aggressive posture toward its neighbours, effectively portraying Ankara as the regional bully.

“We are all concerned by Turkey’s interventions which affect the territorial integrity and destabilize Libya, Syria and Iraq, and we are also equally worried of the violations by the said country of the sovereign rights of both Greece and Cyprus,” Anastasiades said in his address to the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

By contrast, he said Cyprus is acting as a “facilitator for synergies and cooperation by promoting a web of partnerships, including trilateral and multilateral schemes along with Greece, with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Armenia.

“Unfortunately, against this background and the latest positive developments of gradually restoring relations between Israel and Arab countries, Turkey consistently and consciously escalates tensions by enforcing its expansionist plans through the use of force.”

After running through the last reunification talks in Crans Montana in 2017, and what has transpired since, Anastasiades sought to dismantle Ankara’s talking point, namely that it has the best interests of the Turkish Cypriots in mind.

He accused Turkey of disregarding the fact that the Republic of Cyprus has established a National Sovereign Fund “which safeguards the interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots from any revenues accrued from the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits.

“Moreover, Turkey fails to acknowledge my proposal for establishing an escrow account to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community, to which any revenues from the exploitation of hydrocarbons would be deposited, based on the population proportion of the constituent states.”

Anastasiades went on to suggest it is precisely Ankara who is holding the Turkish Cypriot community hostage:

“And if Turkey will recognize the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus within its Exclusive Economic Zone, then the said [hydrocarbon] revenues might be released to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community, even prior to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

The president said he is ready to both engage in talks on Cyprus, as well as in dialogue on Cyprus-Turkey maritime disputes.

“Wouldn’t be to the best benefit of everyone to settle our differences in accordance with international practices? On my behalf I wish to repeat once more that I am ready to engage in a constructive dialogue and/or to abide by any judgement of the International Court.”

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