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Cyprus president: Turkey's aim for control scuppers peace

Cyprus' president says fears among Greek Cypriots that Turkey still wants to call the shots under a deal reunifying the ethnically split island nation is hampering peace efforts.

Nicos Anastasiades says Turkey's "obsession" to permanently station troops, secure military intervention rights and extend its influence over Turkish Cypriots in any peace deal is fanning fears that it wants to turn the island into a "protectorate."

Anastasiades told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that peace talks cannot resume as long as Turkey continues to unlawfully drill for gas in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades talks during an interview with the Associated Press at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday Sept. 17, 2019. Anastasiades says Turkey's "obsession" to permanently station troops, secure military intervention rights and extend its influence over Turkish Cypriots in any peace deal is fanning fears that it wants to turn the island into a "protectorate." (AP PhotoPetros Karadjias)

He said Cyprus' strengthened relations with neighboring countries including Egypt and Israel coupled with strained U.S.-Turkey ties has enhanced the island nation's role as an agent of regional stability.

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades talks during an interview with the Associated Press at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday Sept. 17, 2019. Anastasiades says Turkey's "obsession" to permanently station troops, secure military intervention rights and extend its influence over Turkish Cypriots in any peace deal is fanning fears that it wants to turn the island into a "protectorate."(AP PhotoPetros Karadjias)

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades adjusts his glasses during an interview with Associate Press at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday Sept. 17, 2019. Anastasiades says Turkey's "obsession" to permanently station troops, secure military intervention rights and extend its influence over Turkish Cypriots in any peace deal is fanning fears that it wants to turn the island into a "protectorate." (AP PhotoPetros Karadjias)