Turkey Blames US for Increased Tensions in Mediterranean
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry lashed out at the United States on Monday morning, warning that a recently signed memorandum of understanding between the US and the Republic of Cyprus “will not serve peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and will damage the solution” to the ongoing regional conflict. The US should “return to the neutrality policy it traditionally follows” regarding Cyprus, Ankara said, instead of “disrupt[ing] the balance between the two peoples on the island and increase[ing] the tension” in the area. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Cyprus over the weekend, reiterating American support for the southern, pro-Greece part of the island and expressing Washington’s dismay with Turkish actions in area waters. Earlier, he promised that the US would deepen its military cooperation with Nicosia. Decades of friction between Greece and Turkey over territory and maritime rights flared up over the past year after Ankara began sending survey vessels to the waters around Cyprus in a search for deposits of natural gas. There have been several near-skirmishes between Greece and Turkey over the matter.