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Turkey lambastes Southern EU countries’ joint declaration over Cyprus demands

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday blasted a joint declaration adopted by the southern EU member states on issues relating to Cyprus, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“The commendation in the declaration of the so-called efforts by the Greek Cypriots regarding the settlement process in Cyprus and the expression of support for their unilateral hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean clearly display the continuation of the Greek Cypriot Administration’s abuse of its EU membership,” the ministry said in a statement.

France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus on Tuesday adopted a joint declaration during the 5th Summit of the Southern European Union Countries (SEUS) held in Nicosia (Lefkoşa).

The ministry said the declaration was “another example of the unfair and unconstructive attitude maintained by certain EU members, in the name of so-called ‘Union solidarity’.”

“It should not be forgotten that the main reason for the failure of the Cyprus Conference in 2017 was the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigent mentality, considering themselves as the sole owner of the Island and the Turkish Cypriots as a minority.

“The fact that in the joint declaration there is no mention of the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots on the natural resources of the Island proves the persistence of this distorted mentality,” it added.

Turkey remains committed to taking the necessary steps to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots, the statement said.

A joint declaration issued after the SEUS summit had called on Turkey to fulfil its obligations toward Cyprus, including cooperation as well as effective implementation of the Readmission Agreement with the European Union, without discrimination, Al Jazeera reported.

The joint declaration had also urged Turkey to normalize relations with the Republic of Cyprus by lifting the restrictions in its ports and airports/airspace towards Cyprus and EU companies related to Cyprus.

Turkey has constantly contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s military intervention.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the collapse of a 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK.

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