Slamming Turkey’s stance against Cyprus, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and visiting Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades reiterated on Tuesday that Athens and Nicosia stand shoulder to shoulder and are ready to take measures against Ankara’s “unlawful actions.”
The two men discussed Turkey’s illegal activities within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at length, as well as the prospects of a resumption of talks to end the Turkish occupation and reunify the island.
"Turkey’s illegal behavior off the Republic of Cyprus continues to provoke,” Mitsotakis said, adding that its “confrontational rhetoric also demonstrates its international isolation.” Greece, Mitsotakis said, “always stands by the side of Cyprus in its efforts for reunification and to have its rights respected.”
Both men expressed “their absolute will for the resumption of substantive negotiations that will lead to a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem.”
They also discussed ways to coordinate their efforts ahead of their visit to New York later this month for the United Nations General Assembly, where Mitsotakis will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has raised concerns in Athens and Europe regarding his stance to the agreement between Brussels and Ankara to stem the flow of migrants into the continent.
On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dampened expectations of a breakthrough after insisting that the Greek Cypriots, who form the majority of the island’s population, must agree beforehand that Turkish Cypriots will have an equal share in decision making in a unified state before talks can resume.
Furthermore, he reiterated that Turkey’s drilling activities in Cyprus’ waters could continue as long as Greek Cypriots refused to jointly prospect for hydrocarbons with Turkish Cypriots in the occupied north. He also rejected a proposal by Anastasiades to give Turkish Cypriots 30 percent of the proceeds from gas.
Anastasiades said in Athens on Tuesday that Cavusoglu’s statements confirmed a “strong concern of the Greek-Cypriot community that Turkey has the complete control of the Turkish-Cypriot community.”
Meanwhile on Tuesday 14 Turkish fighter jets violated Greek national airspace 50 times in the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean, which led to three mock dogfights with Greek jets.