Cyprus Causing Regional Security Problems, Claims Erdogan

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkey’s leader has claimed “unilateral” moves by Cyprus’ government in its offshore territory will create a security threat.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking in London at an event organized by the Chatham House think-tank.

Chatham House Associate Fellow Fadi Hakura said the Turkish leader also “vigorously defended Turkey’s policy in Syria and the broader Middle East in response to objections from the US and Europe”.

Erdogan’s comments came as the United Nations reportedly expressed frustration with Ankara over its failure to endorse new UN envoy Jane Holl Lute.

The Cyprus News Agency reported that the island’s other two guarantor powers — Britain and Greece — had already green-lighted the U.S.-born diplomat, but said Turkey was yet to move because of looming early elections called by Erdogan for June 24.

The delay will affect an important UN report on Cyprus to be finalized by June 15 which deals with its peacekeeping forces on the divided island.

Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said the reunification of Cyprus as a federation may not be possible with the current “mindset” of Greek Cypriots.

This has thrown doubt on the feasibility of any new settlement talks.

However, in February, the U.S. threw its weight behind the Cyprus government over a standoff with Turkish military ships in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

American ambassador Kathleen A. Doherty met Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and said: “I relayed to the president that the United States feels very strongly that the Republic of Cyprus has the right to explore and exploit its resources in the exclusive economic zone.”