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17 June, 2024
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Turkey to play Cyprus card at NATO summit

AKP spokesman criticizes ‘capricious’ senators, wants EU and US to end favors to Greek Cypriots


The spokesman for the ruling party in Turkey says Cyprus will inevitably be on the agenda at the next NATO summit, as the alliance still struggles to overcome hesitation in Ankara over Sweden’s membership due to terrorism concerns.

AKP spokesman Omer Celik was quoted in Greek Cypriot media this week after the Turkish politician told his party committee that recent EU and US moves in Cyprus “have not been positive at all.”

“The present situation is not healthy. They should stop poisoning the process by conducting joint exercises with the Greek Cypriots and strengthening their arsenal,” he said. 

Celik added that Ankara will raise the Cyprus issue including at the NATO summit next month, while he also criticized “capricious” moves by US senators who support Greek positions against Turkey.

'The present situation is not healthy. They should stop poisoning the process by conducting joint exercises with the Greek Cypriots and strengthening their arsenal'

“This is nothing more than a spoiled policy that puts NATO’s common security at risk,” Celik said.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, who was asked on state radio Tuesday morning to comment on Celik’s NATO remarks, said he understood the issue to be about geopolitical names on maps.

“Our own information point to a series of objections, one of three issues, that we believe it is mainly a technical aspect on NATO expansion plans,” Kombos said.

Local media said Ankara has been pushing for some dual-named locations on maps to be listed by coordinates. Names of several locations, such as islands and other features, are often contested between Athens and Ankara.

But there was more political color in Celik’s comments, who also took issue with NATO candidate Sweden’s alleged support for Kurdish militia, an allegation that Ankara has also directed at Nicosia in the past.

“Some practices such as supporting terrorist organizations that attack another NATO country by someone from within NATO countries should come to an end,” Celik said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday played down Stockholm’s hopes to join the alliance soon, saying “Sweden’s expectations don’t mean we’ll follow them.”

Erdogan made the statement as western allies talked up the prospect of Ankara lifting its objection over Sweden joining NATO.

The Turkish president has also called for equal footing between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots before any peace talks resume.

“As our president recently stated, TRNC sovereign equality must be secured in order for negotiations to take place,” Celik said, while also accusing the Greek Cypriot side of trying to capitalize on previous failed efforts before moving to the next one.

Nicosia has rejected Turkish Cypriot calls for equal sovereignty, with Greek Cypriots insisting on a UN federal model for solution.

Nicosia sees no contest between UN and EU efforts

Kombos said the Greek Cypriot side was trying to maintain the initiative in peace efforts but admitted on state radio Tuesday morning that there were no clear responses to calls for EU involvement in restarting talks.

“We have not received negative feedback,” Kombos said, referring to Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides’ proposal for an EU envoy.

The proposal has been rejected by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who said Brussels was not an honest broker.

Tatar also said recently that an EU envoy was outside the parameters of UN peace efforts.

But Kombos says there is no contest between UN and EU efforts in the Cyprus Problem, adding that a European official could help restart talks “always with the UN framework.”

The foreign minister also expressed his view on what may lie ahead, adding that “Turkish aggression” was a concern for Greek Cypriots and their allies.

“In the last period we see a wave of calm [in Greco-Turk relations] but it is not known whether this will change to affect Cyprus,” Kombos said.

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  NATO  |  peace talks  |  EU  |  US

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