Cypriot President: Turkish Cypriot proposals aim for partition

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The proposals put forward by the leader of Cyprus’ dissident Turkish Cypriots are an “unacceptable” new offer for the permanent partition of the ethnically divided island, the country’s Greek Cypriot president said Wednesday.

President Nicos Anastasiades said in a statement that he viewed the ideas as “another attempt to entrench the unacceptable narrative of a settlement based on two independent states.”

Among Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s five proposals for a peace deal and the future of Cyprus is a plan for joint exploration of potential offshore natural gas deposits.

Anastasiades said he would be willing to discuss any proposal as long as it does not deviate from the agreed and UN-approved framework of reunifying Cyprus into a federation made up of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot areas.

Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines when Turkey invaded 48 years ago on Wednesday, following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the northern third of the island, where it maintains more than 35,000 troops.

Anastasiades’ rejection of proposals on the anniversary of the island’s division in 1974 was the clearest indication yet of the distance between the two sides to find common ground to resume talks facilitated by the UN.

Turkish Cypriots claim that the majority of Greek Cypriots do not want to share power fairly under a federal agreement and demand – with Turkey’s full support – that any peace agreement be preceded by their recognition as as a separate state.

Greek Cypriots reject any deal that would formally divide the island, as well as Turkey’s demands for a permanent troop presence and military intervention rights. They also reject a Turkish Cypriot request for veto power over all decisions at the federal level.

Tatar’s proposal on gas exploration calls for the creation of a ‘cooperation mechanism’ which would involve companies with which the internationally recognized Cypriot government has signed agreements to drill for hydrocarbons off the island’s southern coast .

The Cypriot government strongly opposes the involvement of energy companies in any negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots for fear that this will diminish its authority and give credence to Turkish Cypriot pressure for recognition of the north as a sovereign entity. distinct.

ExxonMobil, Qatar Petroleum, Chevron and a consortium made up of Italian energy company Eni and France’s Total have been awarded licenses to drill in nine of the 13 offshore areas or blocks within the island’s economic zone, much of which is claimed by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots as their own.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Wednesday at a commemoration of the invasion in northern Cyprus that Turkey’s newest drillship would start drilling in the Mediterranean next month.

Turkey has in the past sent drill and survey ships escorted by warships inside the economic zones of Cyprus and Greece, stoking tensions with its NATO ally.

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