The European Union strongly encourages the absence of a settlement on the divided island of Cyprus, the Turkish president said Saturday.
President Abdullah Gül blamed the EU for contradicting its own principles by including Greek Cyprus as a member before the divided island solved its problems when he was speaking to the Turkish Parliament on the occasion of the new legislative year.
“Obviously this puts the European Union in a position where it ends up strongly encouraging the absence of a settlement,” said Gül. “It is the Greek Cypriot administration that lacks the will to reach a settlement in the Cyprus problem and many members of the EU hide under the skin of the Greek Cypriot administration as an excuse.”
Gül also warned about a Sunni-Shiite divide amid the wave of uprisings sweeping the Arab world. He called on “all governments and organizations that might become an instrument to the provocation of malign powers trying to benefit from such a primitive divide in the Muslim world.”
Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot president said Saturday that exploratory drilling for offshore oil and gas deposits will continue despite Turkey’s strong opposition.
Dimitris Christofias said Greek Cyprus’s right to search for potential mineral deposits inside its exclusive economic zone is non-negotiable and that any foreign meddling is unacceptable, the Associated Press reported.
Turkey says the south’s gas search disregards Turkish Cypriot rights and has sent a warship-escorted research vessel to also look for gas off Cyprus. Christofias repeated on Saturday that the island’s natural resources belong to all Cypriots.