Cypriot Annan Plan referendums
The bodies of 18 Turkish Cypriots who are due to be sent back to their homeland are still being held in a London mosque weeks after their deaths.
Turkish Cypriots in the United Kingdom, one of the communities most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, are holding the bodies in a Hackney mosque in east London to fulfill the will of their relatives who lost their lives.
A so-far elusive deal to reunite Cyprus would mean more money in pockets on both sides of the ethnically divided island, a World Bank and UN-funded report said Monday.
Presenting the study's results, authors Enrique Aldaz-Carroll and Reena Badiani-Magnusson said a peace accord could boost the incomes of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots by 7 percent within a decade.
Turkey on Feb. 11 dismissed claims that it had accepted ending the guarantorship system for Cyprus, under which Turkey stands as a guarantor for the island.
"News reports in the Greek Cypriot press alleging that Turkey has accepted ending the guarantorship system for Cyprus are not true," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
Turkey's drillships and seismic research vessels will not leave Cypriot waters unless Nicosia includes Turkish Cypriots in its decision-making concerning hydrocarbon exploration. This was stated by Turkish Ambassador to Greece Burak Ozugergin, quoted by Kathimerini.
Two Turkish ships are currently conducting studies in the waters off Cyprus.
In a further escalation of tensions with Cyprus, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has ruled out any possibility that Ankara will give up its guarantor status on the island and said that it will continue its illegal drilling activities there.
Turkey, Akar said, is a guarantor power on Cyprus and "will continue to use this right as it has in the past."
A senior French senator says his country is sensitive to Cyprus' "difficulties" with neighboring Turkey and backs the east Mediterranean island nation's bid to get Ankara to stop unlawful gas drilling off its shores.
Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Christian Cambon said Friday that both France and the European Union reject Turkey's actions.