Europe’s tolerating Turkish belligerence risks war, Cypriot president says

Europe’s tolerating Turkish belligerence risks war, Cypriot president says
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Nikos Anastasiades blamed the EU of turning a blind-eye to Turkey, saying that “It is rewarding the bully who wants to be seen as a victim”

Nikos Anastasiades, the president of the Republic of Cyprus said the European Union was rewarding Turkey by tolerating its belligerence. 

“It should be understood that as long as the international community, as long as the EU – and I say this boldly – turn a blind eye, accept or tolerate Turkish behaviour, it is like rewarding the bully who wants to be seen as a victim,” Anastasiades said on Sunday.

“The behaviour of Mr [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan cannot be explained otherwise. It is the tolerance of Europe that allows it,” he said, warning of a war between NATO allies, unless the West acts on it, Cyprus Mail reported.

Turkey has long been at odds with Greece and Cyprus over a string of issues, including territorial claims over the Mediterranean.

Ankara and Athens had come to the brink of war in the summer of 2020, when Ankara deployed Oruc Reis to conduct seismic research off the coast of Cyprus and Greek islands, escorted by warships. Greece who said the vessel was over its own continental shelf, where it has exclusive rights on potential hydrocarbons undersea, has responded by deploying its warships and air force to shadow the Turkish vessel. In late September, Turkey has issued a new naval maritime notice (Navtex) for its research vessel Oruc Reis, reserving parts of the Eastern Mediterranean for drilling surveys, a move that further deteriorated the tense relations between the rivalling sides.

The international community’s remaining inactive against Turkey’s behaviour, risks a new war between NATO allies, Anastasiades said.

“That is when they will realise that their tolerance has brought disaster,” he said.

There could not be any absolution for a country that invades another illegally, that violates international law and every principle of European values ​​and ideals, Cyprus Mail cited the Cypriot president as saying.

Anastasiades asked “which aspect of international law allows Turkey to threaten the territorial sovereignty of Greece or ignore UN resolutions or allows a minority community to determine the decisions of the majority.”

“Double standards do not promote international law, but promote international injustice,” he said.

Cyprus has been ethnically split since 1974, when Turkish military intervened in response to a Greek Cypriot coup d’etat, ordered by the military junta in Greece, aiming to unify the island with Greece (ENOSİS). Internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, governed by the Greek Cypriots, controls the south of the island, and the Turkish Cypriots, the north. The administration in the northern part of Cyprus is only recognized by Turkey. 

Numerous diplomatic efforts for the reunification of the island, have failed.