As tensions continue to rise in the eastern Mediterranean, with Turkey, Greece and Cyprus at odds over territorial waters, the leader of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has told Euronews that EU countries should be working to de-escalate the situation.
Turkey claims the right to drill for oil off the coast of Cyprus, on the basis that it is in the territorial waters of Northern Cyprus.
No country other than Turkey, however, recognises Northern Cyprus, with the United Nations viewing it as a Turkish-occupied region of the Republic of Cyprus.
In recent weeks the war of words between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus has escalated to shows of military strength, with military drills taking place in the region.
The Turkish-Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı, told Euronews “important countries within the EU should also approach this subject in a much more objective manner”, singling out France, which has sent forces to join the war games.
“France should play a positive role in improving relations with Turkey and in reducing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
Akıncı also spoke of talks in the works on the future of Cyprus.
“Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus, [together] with the United Nations will come together,” he said.
“The call for an informal meeting is actually demanded by Turkey, it is Turkey’s suggestion. Turkey thinks that such an informal meeting before a formal one would be useful. We also agree on this.
“So that everyone can get their demands off their chest. So that we can see clearly what everyone sees for the future of Cyprus and what they want. And so that we can start walking this road again together.”