NEWS

Cyprus visit likely by FM in show of support

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Ahead of the planned fiesta prepared by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in occupied northern Cyprus on July 20 and amid concerns over how discussions for a Cyprus settlement unfold in the coming months, Athens and Nicosia remain in constant contact, with a possible visit to the island nation by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias under consideration.

The aim is to convey a clear message of support to Cyprus.

At the same time, given the pressure for a resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus issue, Athens and Nicosia are seeking to set some parameters regarding the context of these new talks. 

For their part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel have expressed clear concern that the possible resumption of talks may be derailed by Ankara’s actions, especially in the event that plans to change the status of the fenced-off town of Varosha move ahead.

A number of European Union officials reportedly perceive Erdogan’s planned fiesta, which also coincides with the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, as a way to pressure the Cypriot leadership to enter talks on Ankara’s terms, which is pushing for a two-state solution.

Meanwhile diplomatic sources in Athens dismissed the accusations leveled by Turkish officials that “Greece is a safe haven for terrorist organizations,” recalling how the US State Department and Treasury recently announced sanctions against three people and a company based in Turkey which coordinated the promotion of financial and other assistance to the Islamic State militant group. 

The same sources pointed out that this is the fifth time since April 2019 that the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on individuals who support Islamic State and are based in Turkey. They also highlighted a recent report by the inspector general of the US Treasury Department, which said that that the Islamic State uses Turkey to transfer money internationally, “…often relying on logistical hubs in Turkey.”