By Spiros Sideris – Nicosia
Once again, Turkey has unfortunately chosen to follow a policy far from international law, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pointed out on Thursday evening, assuring that Greece is following the situation and fully supports the decision by President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades to suspend his participation in talks for a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Speaking at a dinner hosted in his honour by President Anastasiades, at the Presidential Palace, Samaras expressed hope that Turkey would work towards creating the conditions necessary for the resumption of negotiations.
President Anastasiades, referring to Turkey`s dangerous behaviour with the blatant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, noted that the timing of Turkey`s actions, which increase tension, was not random, as it coincided with the geopolitical upgrading of the Republic of Cyprus.
He also made clear that he was not willing to succumb to pressure for participation in a dialogue so that a solution could be imposed by military might, adding that Cyprus` natural wealth belonged to the state and the benefits would be reaped by the legitimate inhabitants, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
In his toast at the dinner, President Anastasiades said Samaras` visit to Cyprus was interpreted as a confirmation of his interest in and support to the people of Cyprus, noting that Cyprus and Greece had strong links dating back to antiquity.
The President also expressed gratitude for the fact that Samaras has placed Cyprus as a priority, noting that Greece has supported Cyprus as no other country had.
`Today we are facing a dangerous and provocative behaviour on behalf of Turkey. Her actions constitute a blatant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone, and of the International Convention of the UN for the Law of the Sea`, he pointed out.
Furthermore, he said Turkey had chosen this time to undermine the security, stability and peace that Cyprus, Greece, and other countries were trying to build in the turbulent region, adding that `we are called upon today to decisively address this provocation`.
President Anastasiades assured Hellenism and made clear to all those who were able to intervene, that he was not willing to succumb to any pressure for a dialogue under threats or blackmail, which would lead to a solution being imposed by military might.
He pointed out that the natural wealth of Cyprus belonged to the state and thus the benefits from its exploitation would be reaped by the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and thus military threats and illegal intervention supposedly in the name of the Turkish Cypriots did not contribute to this end but on the contrary made the prospects of finding a solution more distant.
The President expressed the Greek Cypriot side`s determination to work towards establishing Cyprus as a modern, European state, a state of peace and prosperity, and sent a message to those sincerely seeking a solution that they should work for the resumption of talks, far from threats and blackmail.
Replying, Samaras said his visit came at a very trying time for the Republic of Cyprus and the broader region, noting that in the case of Cyprus, Turkey had once again chosen to follow a policy far from international law.
Samaras assured that Greece was following the situation and supported President Anastasiades` decision to suspend his participation in talks for a Cyprus settlement until such conditions allowed for their resumption.
The Greek Prime Minister expressed hope that the Turkish side would work towards creating those conditions.
Samaras pointed out that the broader region was in turmoil, a situation for which the Islamic State bore a huge responsibility, noting that it was imperative to achieve regional understanding.
`Greece and Cyprus are steadily moving in this direction`, he said, adding that the upcoming summit in Cairo between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt would be an example of such understanding.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
President Anastasiades decided to suspend his participation in the UN-backed negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem, after Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros illegally entered Cyprus` exclusive economic zone last month, a few days after Turkey issued a maritime order (NAVTEX) for the area.