No matter Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan anticipated to come back out of his go to to the occupied a part of Cyprus – on the day that marked the forty seventh anniversary of the Turkish invasion that led to the division of the island – didn’t materialize.
Even amongst Turkish Cypriots, his intervention obtained a combined response, with opposition events boycotting his speech to the district’s internationally unrecognized ‘parliament’. Extra importantly, his go to and place on the ghost suburb of Varosia (identified colloquially by the Turks as ‘Varosha’), and his statements that adopted, obtained common condemnation from the US and EU, in addition to the 4 different everlasting members of the UN Safety Council – the UK, Russia, France, and China (in addition to the aforementioned United States).
Loyal Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriot chief Ersin Tatar welcomed Erdogan, who described the Cyprus difficulty as a significant nationwide affair for Turkey, whereas insisting on a two-state answer.
Emboldened by Erdogan’s presence, and supported by him, Tatar added, “Now, the one demand of the Turkish Cypriots in worldwide negotiations is the popularity of the standing of a sovereign state,” including that solely a two-state answer will work. Erdogan supported this when he mentioned, “A brand new negotiation course of can solely be carried out between the 2 states,” difficult the island’s future reunification.
Tatar additionally introduced a partial reopening of Varosia – an deserted suburb of the far bigger ghost metropolis Famagusta. The Greek and worldwide inhabitants fled after the Turkish invasion in 1974. Tatar desires to permit Varosia to be partially resettled by the island’s Turks, whereas on the identical time fully ignoring UN resolutions calling for Varosia to be handed over to UN administration and to permit the pre-invasion inhabitants to return to their properties.
The transfer by Tatar prompted UN Secretary-Basic Anotnio Guterres to say that he’s “deeply involved over the bulletins of July 20 by the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey concerning the additional opening of the enclosed metropolis of Varosia.” He added that the place of the UN on Varosia stays unchanged and is guided by the related resolutions of the UN.
EU international coverage chief, Josep Borrell, went on to say: “The unilateral resolution introduced by President Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot chief Tatar dangers elevating tensions on the island and compromising return to talks on a complete settlement of the Cyprus difficulty,” including that the plans for Varosia introduced by Tatar and Erdogan constituted an “unacceptable unilateral resolution.”
European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen made it clear that the EU would “by no means settle for” a two-state proposal for Cyprus. “These clear messages have been despatched. I advised the president (Erdogan) personally. It’s subsequently as much as him now to offer a optimistic sign.” Von der Leyen’s warnings to Erdogan to not jeopardize a push for higher ties with the EU by inflaming tensions in Cyprus don’t seem to have been heeded.
The UK issued a press release of concern however the strongest response got here from the US.
At a Senate listening to on US-Turkish relations, Victoria Nuland, the American Underneath-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, mentioned: “We condemn the announcement by Turkish Cypriot chief Tatar and Turkish President Erdogan to permit Turkish Cypriots to take management of elements of Varosia. This transfer is incompatible with UN Safety Council Resolutions 550 and 789, which explicitly name for Varosia to be administered by the UN. The US considers this motion provocative, unacceptable and detrimental to the prospect of a resumption of settlement talks. We urge that this resolution be reversed. We are going to work with like-minded companions within the UN Safety Council. A complete settlement by the Cypriot management for the reunification of the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation is the one option to lasting peace and stability.”
Nuland added that the US urged Erdogan to deal with variations within the area by way of diplomacy and never by provocative actions or rhetoric.
This adopted a powerful condemnation by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who emphasised that “The US views Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosia, with the assist of Turkey, as provocative, unacceptable, and incompatible with their previous commitments to interact constructively in settlement talks … We urge Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to reverse their resolution introduced at this time and all steps taken since October 2020.”
Greek International minister Nikos Dendias was unequivocal in his statements, saying, “There could be no prospects of bettering Greece-Turkey and EU-Turkey relations so long as Turkey insists on breaking the legislation in Cyprus.” He later added, “We wish to be clear that illegality will not be legislation, violation doesn’t produce rights.”
However Turkey is continuing with development initiatives and the additional militarization of the occupied a part of Cyprus with the constructing of two new bases for his or her armed forces, one in all which will likely be used as an airstrip for Turkish fight drones. The tone and content material of the go to appeared to have been designed to bolster Erdogan’s flagging place domestically.
Pure fuel lurks within the background
Almost about pure fuel, throughout his go to, Erdogan reiterated his proposal for a wider worldwide convention on Jap Mediterranean maritime and Unique Financial Zone (EEZ) points. Referring to ExxonMobil’s plan to finish appraisal drilling of the Glaucus discovery in block 10 of Cyprus EEZ, he mentioned that the Greek Cypriot facet ignored this proposal and plans to renew work within the autumn.
Turkish Cypriot media anticipated Erdogan to announce a fuel discovery within the areas in Cyprus’ EEZ the place Turkey drilled in 2020. However in the long run, no such announcement was made.
This preceded the go to. On July 2, Erdogan introduced that Turkey will proceed its actions to discover oil and fuel within the Jap Mediterranean. Even after drilling eight wells with no discoveries made, Erdogan mentioned Turkey had been receiving “alerts of pure fuel” and vowed to proceed defending Turkey’s ‘rights’ within the area, with out offering a timeline or additional particulars.
Provided that this announcement occurred after the EU leaders summit in June, the place Turkey was requested to “present restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus and chorus from any such actions”, Erdogan’s resolution to not comply is worrying and places Turkey’s sincerity about peace within the area deeply in query.