There was criticism by the Turkish Cypriot government after the Greek Cypriot side announced the implementation of a bilateral arrangement reached in 2014 with the UK on the regulation of non-military development in the Sovereign Bases Area.
The TRNC Deputy Prime Ministry and Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said that Turkish Cypriots also had rights within the British Sovereign Bases Areas (SBA) which will be opened to civilian development.
The agreement concerns 18 square kilometres of around 254 square kilometres – or 3 per cent of the island’s territory — retained by former colonial ruler Britain in Akrotiri in Limassol, and Dhekelia, Larnaca, as sovereign territory used as military bases.
Under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, properties inside the two areas could only be used for agricultural purposes.
In a written statement on Wednesday, the foreign ministry argued that the status of the bases was based on the International Cyprus Treaties signed in 1960 by the three guarantor countries as well as the leaders of the two communities.
It pointed out that it was not possible to amend the agreements without the knowledge and approval of all signatories.
“Any changes introduced without the knowledge and approval of the signatories is a clear violation of the 1960 Cyprus Treaties and the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties,” the statement said.
The foreign ministry said that the changes made without seeking approval of Turkish Cypriot authorities should not be expected to be binding for the Turkish Cypriot side.
“As it is known, Turkish Cypriots have as much a right as Greek Cypriots over the bases areas. Attempts, through the agreement, to create the perception that the Greek Cypriots have authority or total say over these areas is problematic in its approach which bears the risk of bringing the two communities against each other,” it added.
The foreign ministry said that the Turkish Cypriot side had shown the necessary sensitivity in similar situations, particularly in regards to the preparation of a development plan for Beyarmudu in December 2019.
“A guarantee was provided to us that our citizens living in the area would not be affected by an agreement signed in 2014 following contacts with British officials at the highest level. A similar initiative has been launched by our ministry to discuss the issue with British officials. We shall be following developments closely,” the statement concluded.
BRTK, Cyprus Mail