British High Commissioner in Nicosia Irfan Siddiq was on Tuesday summoned to the foreign ministry to be served with a demarche, following comments made in a newspaper interview, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said.

Siddiq had spoken about the Cyprus problem to newspaper Kathimerini on Sunday, drawing the ire of both sides of the island by saying Turkish Cypriots require incentives to return to negotiations.

Demarches are diplomatic notes without a personal attribution conveying an official protest or request for support.

“At a critical juncture, when the attention of the international community is focused on the mission of the UN envoy, we expect the United Kingdom… to contribute to the creation of a climate which will facilitate the resumption of the negotiation process,” Letymbiotis told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

He added, “in light of developments in our region, where crises and tensions remind us that there is no such thing as a ‘frozen conflict’, we expect that the UK, with its influence and special interest in regional developments, can send important messages to the Turkish side.”

Those messages, he said, should pertain to encouraging a “more constructive attitude for the resumption of talks, and refraining from new provocations and violations which have a negative impact on the efforts to find the required common ground.”

Siddiq’s summons came a day after Deputy Government Spokesman Yiannis Antoniou described his comments as “unacceptable”.

“There needs to be caution in statements, particularly if made by the UK,” he said, adding that Siddiq “should avoid remarks touching on sensitive issues.”

Meanwhile, the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu was also dissatisfied with Siddiq’s statements, lamenting that he has “made a habit of putting forward an excessive number of views on the Cyprus problem.

“By claiming there is will on the Greek Cypriot side to return to the negotiating table, he shows how error-laden his knowledge, intention and vision on the Cyprus problem are, and proves he is not someone we can deal with.”

He accused Siddiq of stating there was ‘flexibility’ in the will of the Turkish Cypriot side and “thus knew our country’s positions and policies better than us.

“It is utterly absurd to make such a claim,” he said.

The fallout from Sunday’s interview marks the latest episode in a turbulent term in office so far for Siddiq.

Only last month, he had been on the end of condemnation from Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar following comments about the Cyprus problem in an interview with newspaper Yeni Duzen.

Tatar added that Siddiq had “started to support South Cyprus’ politics” and described his comments as “very strange”.

“Such a step beyond one’s remit has never been seen in the history of the TRNC. Siddiq has never interfered in [British] domestic politics to this extent,” he said.

Ertugruloglu had also reacted to the Yeni Duzen interview, saying “Siddiq, with his words, acts like a Greek Cypriot and an Elam member. Being of Pakistani origin, instead of following a balanced policy, he is trying to please the Greek Cypriot side… He is acting more like a Greek Cypriot than a Greek Cypriot. He should be sacked.”

Prior to that, Siddiq had ruffled feathers among the Turkish Cypriot leadership during a meeting with British citizens living in the north in July last year. He had at that meeting described Turkey’s actions in 1974 as a “land grab”, finding himself in hot water with of much of the Turkish Cypriot political establishment.