Taking into consideration Turkey’s heightened provocations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, however, I cannot foresee that things may be able to resume their normal course unless Turkey changes its aggressive tactics, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou pointed out during the opening of the 35th Annual Conference of the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), in Washington.
Photiou said Turkey is proceeding with illegal drilling activities within Cyprus’ EEZ and is deploying naval assets in close vicinity, adding that Cyprus’ international efforts aim at making Turkey cease these actions.
In his speech, Photiou covered a broad spectrum of subjects, including trilateral cooperation, bilateral relations with the United States, Turkish provocations against Cyprus, and developments in the Cyprus problem, the issue of missing persons and the problems faced by Greek Cypriots enclaved in the areas under Turkish occupation.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, he pointed out the importance of maintaining a calm situation on the ground, noting that further weakening or even withdrawal of UNFICYP will be interpreted by Turkey as an opportunity to promote the so called ‘TRNC’ and to solidify the illegal fait accomplis and the insistence on such a policy is in discord with the new era in the Cyprus-US relations.
Referring to the arms embargo, Photiou said these restrictions clearly go against US interests in reinforcing frontline states such as Cyprus against US strategic competitors, adding that the lifting of the embargo will also be a powerful symbolic gesture.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Source: Cyprus News Agency