Turkish Cypriot President Akıncı says he regrets rejection of offer for joint gas search by Greek side

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Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı said in a written statement on July 16 that he regretted Greek Cyprus’ rejection of his side’s proposal for cooperation on the joint exploration and profit-sharing of hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus.

“I would like to express my regret that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot political parties, who met with the Greek Cypriot leader [Nikos] Anastasiades today, have shown a negative attitude towards our proposals,” Akıncı said.

Akıncı noted that the proposals had aimed at cooperation and the mutual interest of both nations, adding that the Greek Cypriots preferred “tension policy” instead of improving dialogue.

Earlier on July 16, Greek Cypriot party leaders rejected an offer from Akıncı to create a cooperation mechanism regarding both sides’ gas search efforts, according to local media.

Greek Cypriot news outlet sigmalive.com said Anastasiades chaired a meeting of GreekCypriot party leaders in Limassol.

After the meeting, Anastasiades’s aide Vasilis Palmas made a joint announcement in the name of the party leaders.

Palmas said all parties rejected Akıncı’s offer in consensus.

He said Akıncı’s offer could not be accepted because it “disorientates” the issue away from the solution of the Cyprus issue and the need to immediately restart the negotiations.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.

Since this spring, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels — Fatih and most recently Yavuz — to the eastern Mediterranean, asserting the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cyprus over the resources of the region.

The Turkish-flagged drillship, Fatih, launched offshore drilling operations this May in an area 75 kilometers (42 nautical miles) off the western coast of the island of Cyprus.

Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join in their criticism.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, Turkish Cyprus was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. — ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

Hurriyet Daily News

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