Easing Greece-Turkey Tensions: EU Lobbies for De-Escalation on Cyprus Conflict

Written by | Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

The European Commission supports a Cyprus settlement that is being negotiated under the United Nations auspices. Brussels has also called on Ankara to stop creating more friction that could jeopardize the relations between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. After the latest round of negotiations that took place in Crans Montana in July did not bring any breakthrough, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu stirred the emotions by bringing up the term “quasi-annexation” of the island’s northern territory that has been occupied by Turkey since 1974.

Mr. Ertugruloglu described how the North of Cyprus could look like as follows: “An autonomous republic where Turkey may be responsible for defense and foreign affairs but other affairs are within the rule of the republic, just as in the France-Monaco model or UK-Gibraltar model.” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag then commented that “Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will decide on a political solution together” while the Greek leadership dismissed them as “unacceptable”. Athens thinks that such a settlement would “undermine the actions of UN Secretary-General António Guterres to resolve the Cyprus issue”.

The EU Commission on its part didn’t specifically address the idea of this settlement but reiterated that it remained supportive of the process under auspices of the United Nations, adding that “we stand ready to provide whatever assistance both parties and the UN would find most useful when the time is right to resume talks.” The northern third of the Mediterranean island was occupied by Turkey in 1974 since when it has been under the administration of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, guarded by the Turkish military forces. Currently only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. According to the European Court of Human Rights, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus should be considered as a puppet state under Turkish effective control.


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