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CrisisWatch Cyprus

Unchanged Situation

Progress on relaunching formal negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cypriots remained stalled, while tensions over sovereignty rights in disputed maritime zones continued. In controversial comments, Republic of Cyprus President Anastasiades 1 Dec said Turkish Cypriots had more in common with Greek Cypriots than with Turkey and that “as long as they depend, and will depend on Turkey, they will suffer the same as the Turkish people”. After assuming his post in early Dec, UN Sec-Gen’s Special Representative and Head of UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus Colin Stewart 10 Dec met separately with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Anastasiades; Tatar and Anastasiades 14 Dec met at UN reception, where Stewart applauded achievements of bicommunal Technical Committees established under UN auspices to facilitate interaction and understanding between island’s two communities. Mitsotakis 7 Dec said Turkey demonstrated “continued intransigence and unacceptable behaviour, both on land and in the maritime zones of Cyprus” and stressed that any settlement in the fenced-off city of Varosha will “condemn any attempt for a mutually acceptable solution” of the Cyprus issue. Meanwhile, maritime tensions continued. Turkey 2 Dec criticised Greek Cypriots’ attempts to issue exploration license in its claimed Exclusive Economic Zone to oil companies ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum. Republic of Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilides 10 Dec signed natural gas exploration and production sharing contract with ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum, reiterating that Republic of Cyprus is “exercising its sovereign rights according to international law”. “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” of “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) same day responded that contract is “clear usurpation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people” and “denial of Turkey’s rights in the region”. Turkish VP Fuat Oktay 15 Dec announced govt will respond to actions aimed at harming legitimate rights or interests of both Turkey and Turkish Cypriots. Following 2 Dec arson attack on Grand Mosque in Larnaca city in Republic of Cyprus, “TRNC” leader Tatar immediately condemned attack and Turkish President Erdoğan 6 Dec said attack “will not go unanswered” and those engaging in sabotage of places of worship “will pay a heavy price”.

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Divided Cyprus: Coming to Terms on an Imperfect Reality

To avoid another failed effort at federal reunification in the new round of Cyprus negotiations, all sides should break old taboos and discuss all possible options, including independence for Turkish Cypriots within the European Union.

Also available in Türkçe, Ελληνικά
Op-Ed / Europe & Central Asia

New Hope for Peace in Cyprus

Originally published in The Majalla

Leveraging Resolution

Originally published in IP Journal