Cyprus Peace Process Roundup

Turkish seismic vessel sails off northern coast: The Turkish seismic survey vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa was on Tuesday sailing off the island’s northern coast as Turkey prepared to conduct more naval drills off Paphos later this week. According to marinetraffic.com, at around 5pm the Barbaros was off the northern coast of Cyprus, longitudinally located about halfway across the width of the Karpass peninsula and headed in a westerly direction. Last Wednesday (April 19) Turkey issued a Navtex, or notice to mariners, reserving an area inside the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), off Famagusta, to carry out seismic surveys between April 30 and June 30. [Cyprus Mail]

Leaders to meet Tuesday as tensions lurk behind scenes: The two leaders are due to meet on Tuesday for their third meeting since talks resumed amid numerous reports that a new Geneva conference was on the horizon before July when drilling is set to begin in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Reports on Sunday said Turkey was pushing for a new conference as a means to have the Republic postpone drilling plans, news that prompted criticism from the hardline parties who urged the government not to all energy plans to be derailed. [Cyprus Mail]

Greek, Turkish Cypriot officials tour unfinished crossing: A new crossing point intended to encourage Cyprus’ hoped-for reunification is nearing completion two years after the delay-plagued project was announced, Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials were told Thursday. The Deryneia crossing, located near the east coast of Cyprus, was hailed as another important milestone in helping to build trust between the ethnically divided island’s breakaway Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots living in the internationally recognized south. Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci announced the crossing in May 2015, when they launched a new round of negotiations aimed at reunifying Cyprus as a federation. [Associated Press]

Erdogan adviser wants to annex the north: Remarks by Yigit Bulut, an advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the effect that the Turkish-held northern part of Cyprus is a province of mainland Turkey, sparked outrage in the north on Wednesday, with political parties and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s spokesman criticising him harshly. A former journalist, Bulut has made headlines in the past for his outrageous claims, including one in 2013 that foreign powers were plotting Erdogan’s murder through telekinesis. In an interview to TRT Haber TV channel, Bulut had said that the international unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is an overseas province of Turkey. [Cyprus Mail]

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State to visit next week: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jonathan Cohen will visit Cyprus next week, the American embassy in Nicosia announced on Saturday. [Cyprus Mail]

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