Cypriot Defence minister Charalambos Petrides called on Turkey to accept the Republic’s invitation to engage in talks in view of reaching an agreement over the delimitation of the contested maritime zones between the two countries, or alternatively refer the issue to the International Court of Justice.
In an interview with the UAE television channel Alarabiya, Petrides said that irrespective of what the EU and the UN Security Council has stated over the Cypriot coastal town of Varosha, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to open the ghost town in a manner contrary to the Security Council’s call for a transfer of the administration of the area to the UN.
He also noted that Erdogan’s position for a two-state solution in Cyprus is in "absolute contradiction" to the agreed basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation that is provided in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with EU law, values and principles.
"At a time when Cyprus, along with other neighbouring and friendly countries, is trying to promote a new regional framework for cooperation of bilateral and trilateral partnerships, and is strengthening and increasing cooperation with Mediterranean EU powers and other neighbouring states, Turkey is the only state in the region that chooses provocations, escalations, threats and disinformation as a basis for its foreign policy," he said.
He also referred to the EastMed Gas Forum, noting that unfortunately, Turkey excludes itself from it, adopting a "completely irrelevant revisionist approach, expansionist behaviour and highly aggressive rhetoric" towards anyone opposing its “illegal plans”.
The minister stressed that Cyprus has no option but to continue to cooperate with all those who embrace common European principles, values and international law.
Referring to the Medusa military exercise, he said that the exercise was launched in 2017 as an outcome of the trilateral defence cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.
“We consider it a very important exercise as it is a large scale, joint exercise with the participation of a large number of naval and air assets,” the defence minister added.
He said that it is especially important for building up interoperability and cooperation between our countries for promoting stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Petrides said Cyprus was "extremely grateful" to have the United Arab Emirates and France joining this exercise. We welcome their participation and we are sure that both countries will contribute immensely to the goals of the exercise."