Turkey slams U.N. for extending Cyprus peacekeeping force mandate

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry lambasted a decision by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to extend the mandate of a peacekeeping force on Cyprus by six months.

“It is against the U.N.’s own rules and principles that the Turkish Cypriot side's consent was not again sought regarding the presence of UNFICYP [the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus] on the island,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The UNFICYP needs to make a legal arrangement with the Turkish Cypriot authorities regarding its presence on the island, the ministry said.

The ministry also referenced rising tensions between Turkey and Greece and Cyprus over competing claims to hydrocarbon exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

“It is also unfortunate that while calling for cooperation between the two sides on the island, the Council turns a blind eye to the equitable sharing of hydrocarbon resources as one of the cooperation areas,” it said.

Cyprus says that its drilling for hydrocarbons in the waters around the island is backed by international law, citing its exclusive economic zone.

Ankara claims Cyprus is both impinging on Turkey’s continental shelf and violating the rights of the northern side of the island. 

The U.N.’s peacekeeping force in Cyprus was established by the security council in 1964 to keep the peace between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus has been divided between a Greek Cypriot south, a European Union member, and the Turkish Cypriot north, only recognised by Ankara, since Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup that sought unification with Greece.

The decades since have seen several unsuccessful attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute. The latest attempt, held in Switzerland with the participation of Turkey, Greece, and Britain, ended in 2017.


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