Christofias complains of Turkey’s ‘gunboat’ policy

Christofias complains of Turkey’s ‘gunboat’ policy

Christofias complains of Turkey’s ‘gunboat’ policy

Greek Cyprus’ Demetris Christofias (L) greets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the day before the opening of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. ‘I call on Turkey ... to cease its provocative behavior,’ Christofias tells the UN. EPA photo

Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias on Sept. 25 called on Turkish Cypriot leaders to return to talks to reunite the island and accused Turkey of “provocative behavior, gunboat diplomacy, and trying to alter the country’s ethnic make-up.”

“Our commitment remains unchanged. Return to the negotiating table and continue the negotiations in good faith,” Christofias told the United Nations 67th General Assembly in New York.

He accused current the Turkish Cypriot leader, Derviş Eroğlu, of abandoning negotiations aimed at setting up a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, and stressed that Turkey’s positive contribution to the two communities taking the unity process forward was crucial.

“Instead, Turkey has been pursuing ‘gunboat diplomacy’ with oft-repeated display of its military strength around Cyprus. Turkey’s alarming behavior has been escalating since last September when Cyprus proceeded with exploration activities in its exclusive economic zone,” he said. “I call on Turkey, before this esteemed body, to cease its provocative behavior.”

Christofias also blamed Turkey for altering the population’s demography in the north of the island. “Turkey, since invading Cyprus in 1974, has continued to occupy, for 38 years, the northern part of the island, maintaining a strong military force and continuing the mass transfer of settlers from Turkey, pursuing its policy for the demographic alteration of the population of my country,” he said.

“Turkey continues to violate the human rights and fundamental freedoms of tens of thousands of displaced persons, including the usurpation of their property, the rights of the enclaved, and the people who lost their loved ones and continue to search for them,” Christofias said. In addition, Christofias strongly condemned the violence and massacres of innocent civilians in Syria, calling for their immediate cessation.

In addition, in his statement to the debate, the president strongly condemned the violence and massacres of innocent civilians in Syria, calling for their immediate cessation, and appealed for an urgent resumption of Middle East peace talks aimed at the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian State.

Coastguard vessels collide

Turkish and Greek coastguard vessels collided in the Aegean Sea, the Greek foreign ministry said yesterday, adding that a complaint would be made to Ankara.

“The Turkish vessel was sailing dangerously and collided with a Greek vessel,” Greece’s Foreign Ministry said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Instructions have been given to the Greek embassy in Ankara for a demarche,” the ministry said. According to some Greek websites, the Turkish coastguard vessel warned the Slovenia-registered ship that was attached to the EU’s Frontex forces to leave Turkey’s territorial waters. After the Slovenian crew informed Greece, the Greek coastguard vessel reached the area and warned the Turkish vessel to leave. The collision happened as the vessels maneuvered in the water.