Cyprus. â Instead of issuing threats, Turkey must respect Cyprusâ right to search for offshore gas so suspended talks to reunify the ethnically divided island can resume, Greeceâs prime minister said on Monday.Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Turkeyâs dispatch of a research vessel to search for gas in waters where the Cypriot government has licensed other companies to drill is a âgross violation of international lawâ that undermines a return to the peace talks.
Tsipras told the Cypriot parliament in a special session that peace talks âcannot carry on under a regime of provocations and threatsâ that can âneither be ignored nor rewarded by the international community.â
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades broke off the talks in October after Turkey said it would send the vessel.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup aiming for union with Greece.
Turkey doesnât recognise Cyprus as a state and says it wonât allow a unilateral Greek Cypriot gas search that it says flouts Turkish Cypriot rights.
A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the islandâs northern third is recognised only by Ankara, which maintains 35 000 troops there.
Tsipras said Greece expects UN action so talks can restart by ensuring that the Turkish research vessel leaves Cypriot waters.
He also urged Turkish Cypriot leaders to help ease tensions by not supporting any âillegal and provocative actions.â
âOur main message to Ankara is the need to uphold international law, especially in an unstable region,â said Tsipras. â AP.