Greek Cypriot Defence Minister, Demetris Eliades blames the division in Cyprus on the presence of Turkish troops on the island. [The exact numbers are not known but it is thought that there are between 35 and 40 thousand Turkish soldiers in the north.] He said that the division was an “anomaly“ and could not continue.
Eliades also said that Turkey has no chance of joining the EU while Turkish troops remain on the island.
During his meeting with Panos Panagiotopoulis Greek Defence Minister in Athens, Panagiotopoulis said that the Cyprus problem is a problem of invasion and occupation by Turkish troops and added that human rights are brutally violated in this part of the island. He noted that the “line of shame” dividing the island is a matter of concern for the EU and the whole modern world.
[The 2004 Annan plan, if it had been signed by the Greek Cypriots, made provision for Turkish troops to vacate the island by 2018.] Ed.
Eliades in his meeting with the Greek Defence Minister also discussed issues of security, defence and the exploration for hydrocarbons in the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).