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Turkey slams deal between US and Cyprus, calls for 'neutrality'

Cyprus is de facto divided between Greek Cypriot and Turkish communities. [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2020

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Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the US-Cyprus agreement ignores the Turkish Cypriot side of the island.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Monday urged the United States to "revert to a neutral stance on Cyprus" after Washington and Nicosia signed a memorandum of understanding to create a training centre.

"The memorandum of understanding will not serve peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean and will damage the solution of the Cyprus problem," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said.

In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the US-Cyprus agreement "ignores the Turkish Cypriot side".

"We invite the US to return to the neutrality policy it traditionally follows on the island of Cyprus and to contribute to the efforts aimed at the solution of the Cyprus issue," the ministry said.

Earlier in the month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would partially lift a 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus in a move rebuked sharply by Turkey.

After meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia on Saturday in a short visit that lasted only hours, Pompeo told reporters the US was concerned over Turkey's operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, where it is at a standoff with Greece and Cyprus over maritime areas thought to be rich in natural gas.

"We remain deeply concerned about Turkey's ongoing operations searching for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean," Pompeo said.

Read also: Aegean angst: Greece and Turkey's dangerous Eastern Mediterranean game

Tensions soared between Ankara and Nicosia in August after Turkey resumed gas exploration in a disputed area contested by Cyprus – de facto divided between Greek Cypriot and Turkish communities. 

The internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government represents the whole island in the European Union, while North Cyprus is a Turkish Cypriot state recognised only by Ankara.

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