Cyprus’ foreign ministry has already made demarches to countries taking part in a military exercise with Turkey and the north, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday.
Christodoulides said that these types of military exercises have been held before by Turkey, sometimes in the framework of Nato exercises, to upgrade the status of the breakaway regime.
On Thursday, the Turkish defence ministry shared a video of the International Anatolian Phoenix Exercise-2023 currently being conducted in Konya with the participation of Azerbaijan, the ‘TRNC’, Spain, Qatar and Poland.
The exercise has been carried out in Konya since 2009 with the aim of developing survival and evasion procedures and increasing pilots’ and ground personnel’s experience in joint operations.
For 2021’s exercise, Turkey had invited Slovakia and US to join the exercise, but apparently both countries withdrew due to the ‘TRNC’ participation.
Commenting on the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides said that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to restart talks, and they are evaluating information from various attempts to break an impasse in talks.
Christodoulides also talked about the current climate between guarantors Greece and Turkey, which has become more positive since the decision to stop flyovers in the Aegean and Greek aid given to Turkey after massive earthquakes earlier in the year.
He said that the relations of Athens and Ankara have improved and Turkey has a different approach since the earthquakes and elections.
According to the president, what the Greek Cypriot side expects “is for there to be concrete results in the direction of resuming the talks and that is where our efforts are focused”.
“After the completion of the electoral process in Turkey we are in contact with European capitals, with heads of EU member states, as well as with the EU institutions, to see how this proposal, the new approach, that we have put on the discussion table on the need for the EU to have a more active, leading role – because we believe that the EU has all those incentives to create or lead to a mutually beneficial state of affairs through the Cyprus solution – can proceed,” he said.
The president also referred to milestones, saying that the European Council at the end of June in Lithuania, follows a Nato summit, where there will be discussions on the side-lines.
“What we expect is to create conditions, which will lead to the breaking of the impasse and the resumption of talks. We will all be judged through developments, through specific actions,” he said.
On Friday, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said that the appeal made by the Greek Cypriot side to continue the negotiations from the point where they left off in Crans-Montana cannot proceed.
“Our position is clear. The model of the federation has collapsed, it has been spent. We can immediately begin new and formal negotiations with the confirmation of our sovereign equality and equal international status,” he said.
He claimed that the Greek Cypriot side is attempting to throw the EU into the Cyprus problem through “various machinations”, which is something the Turkish Cypriot side cannot accept.
Aside from the UN, the Turkish Cypriot side said no other “player” can be involved in the Cyprus problem.