Tripartite meetings constitute one of the most successful initiatives of the island’s foreign policy, though they do little toward Cyprus’ problems with Turkey, prominent academic and former diplomat to Cyprus Michalis Attalides told Kathimerini in an interview.
“Our chances [of resolving] the Cyprus Problem are enhanced by our multifaceted foreign policy and our influence within the EU is affected positively too,” Attalides said, but stressed that tripartite meetings have limited effect on Cyprus-Turkey relations as Turkey is left outside of the Republic’s tripartite ventures.
“These partnerships highlight the important role played by Greece and Cyprus in the region, and to some extent on behalf of the European Union, but we cannot expect that these partnerships will solve our problems with Turkey, as Turkey does not take part,” Attalides stressed.
Regarding the movement of the Turkish drillship Yavuz into Block 8, in the Cypriot EEZ, Attalides said that “almost nobody expected such a move. It forms part of [Turkey’s] aggressive attitude in an effort to showcase its ability to project power on various fronts.”
“They consider in a paradoxical way that Turkish Cypriots have their own state, the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, but simultaneously believe [that Turkish Cypriots] participate in the Republic of Cyprus and are entitled to property of the Republic,” Attalides said.
Asked whether we can expect the EU to proceed with its promise of imposing sanctions on Turkey, Attalides said that this is a sensitive issue, both legally and politically, “as I suspect that the measures that will be taken can be tried in foreign courts.”
“For the moment, we are receiving both from the EU and the US all the legal and diplomatic support that we can reasonably expect. We would be more satisfied if they sent their fleets for protection, though they are unlikely to do so,” Attalides said characteristically.