President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, on Sept. 25 blasted Turkey before the UN General Assembly, denouncing the continued “Turkish military occupation” of the Turkish Cypriot part in the north of the island.
“We call on Turkey to cease its provocative behavior,” Christofias said, calling the Turkish military presence in the Turkish Cypriot part “gunboat diplomacy and display of military strength.”
Christofias also accused the current leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Dervis Eroglu, of breaking an agreement made by his predecessor to support a solution reached under UN mediation to create a federal government. Under that plan, there would be a single citizenship and single entity composed of both Greek and Turkish communities on the island. He asked Eroglu to return to the negotiating table for direct talks between the two sides.
In an interview with Deutsche-Presse-Agentur, dpa, in New York, Eroglu said that he does not believe there would be a resumption of the talks until after presidential elections in February. Christofias is not running for re-election after having failed to broker a deal to re-unify the island and under fire for his country’s floundering economy, forcing him to seek an international bailout as Greece did. But Eroglu said he would return to the talks if there would be “effective and result-oriented” negotiations.
He said the Turkish Cypriots cannot be blamed for the stalemate in the UN-led negotiations because the Greek Cypriots are the “more powerful” party. The Republic of Cyprus, as the Greek Cypriot part is known, is an EU member and currently holds the EU presidency.
“We are currently the victims of a lack of a solution because of the actions of the Greek Cypriots, who are more powerful and have more influence as an EU member,” Eroglu said. He said the Greek Cypriot side has imposed economic sanctions on the Turkish Cypriots.