President Akıncı calls on France to stop taking sides in the Eastern Mediterranean

The President of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) Mustafa Akıncı has urged France to change its stance on the dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean, and to drop its one-sided approach and instead facilitate dialogue between the two sides.

The comments came in a meeting with French Ambassador Isabelle Dumont at the TRNC White House yesterday, Tuesday 25 August. President Akıncı’s Special Representative Erhan Erçin and Presidential Spokesperson Barış Burcu were also present.

In a statement released after the meeting with the ambassador, the TRNC President “emphasized that it would be better for France to adopt an approach that will help dialogue between the parties instead of taking sides in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Pointing to the fact that “France is both a member of the European Union and a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council,” President Akıncı said that “especially in Cyprus, it is essential that France remains balanced in its relations with the two communities.”

The TRNC President also wished Ms Dumont well in her new role in President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet. She flew back to Paris last night after serving nearly a year as the French ambassador in Cyprus.

Tensions have been rising in the Eastern Mediterranean in recent weeks due to rivalry between Turkey and Greece over territorial waters. The issue has been compounded by a parallel dispute between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots on rights to gas resources off the coast of Cyprus.

France has waded into the dispute by openly siding with Greece and South Cyprus. Two weeks ago, French President Emmanuel Macronannounced he was deploying two Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate in the region, which is rich with untapped energy.

A French Rafale fighter jet is catapulted from a French aircraft carrier off the eastern coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea

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Turkey and France are also at loggerheads over the crisis in Libya. While Turkey has sent military support to the UN-recognised government in Tripoli, France has joined Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in supporting the forces of Gen Khalifa Haftar.

Earlier today, France confirmed it will join military exercises with Italy, Greece and South Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28.

A statement from the French Armed Forces Ministry said that three French Rafale jets and one frigate equipped with a helicopter will form part of the military exercises.