EU Commission calls Turkey to refrain from friction with Cyprus

EPA / SALVATORE DI NOLFI

(L-R) Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, British European Affairs Minister Alan Duncan, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, gesture before a group picture, prior beginning a meeting of the conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 06 July 2017.

EU Commission calls Turkey to refrain from friction with Cyprus


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The European Commission asks from Turkey to refrain from friction that could damage good neighborly relations. Two days after the natural gas drilling in block 11 started by consortium’s ship West Capella and a week after Cyprus talks collapsed.

A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman of the European Commission reiterated the “long standing position of the European Commission that “communication channels should remain open” and that “parties should avoid friction that could damage neighborly relations”.  “Patience and restraint should be the motto,” added the European Commission deputy Spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.

Drilling and talks

But even if the talks have halted, hope remains in Nicosia that this is not the end of the process. The next steps have to be discussed, but even in Cyprus has presidential elections next year, this should not mean that talks will stop for all this time, as this may not help in Cyprus’ efforts to keeping the process alive, along with the UN parameters of the process and the acquis.

A Cyprus diplomat suggested that the fundamental issue of this negotiation was not the presence f troops, but the right of guarantee and the right of intervention. It is on this basis that the presence of the troops on the island caused the deal to collapse the previous days, as giving to Turkey the right of intervention. Even if Cyprus has around 30,000 Turkish troops on the island, if 600 soldiers are to remain, “do we have to make this legal?” asks Nicosia.

On the threats from the Turkish side, according to Nicosia’s experience, every Turkish threat is taken very seriously, but at the same time, if Cyprus considers that because of the threat there is nothing to be done, this leaves the small island “doomed”. At the moment, the tension created is not getting out of control, neither leads to chain reactions.

Post coup attempt talks

As for the Turkish coup attempt and the collapse of talks, one thing was sure. This is that the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has become a “one man show” and that the Cyprus issue does not seem to be high on his priority list.

Even so, Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was the best choice Cyprus could have from the other side of the table. As for the Greek foreign affairs minister Nikos Kotzias and his chemistry with Çavuşoğlu on the table, even if the two politicians seem to “love each other”, at the same time, they have strong personalities and enjoy the blame game.

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