‘Energy reserves’ can assist Cyprus reunion

‘Energy reserves’ can assist Cyprus reunion

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Energy reserves’ can assist Cyprus reunion

PM Erdoğan has said the energy issue 'should not turn into a crisis' in Cyprus, adding that it may lead to an opportunity. REUTERS photo

As part of Turkey’s recent efforts to resume talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, reunification of the island was discussed broadly in Washington, a Turkish diplomat has told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The Turkish side said energy opportunities in the eastern Mediterranean could be a motive for reunification of Cyprus. “As Greek Cypriots continue drilling activities in the region, the energy issue should not turn into a crisis, while it may lead to an opportunity,” the Turkish delegation told U.S. officials in a bid to urge Washington to apply diplomatic support to this.

The U.S. administration agreed to resume Cyprus talks, seeing an opportunity for a solution to the dispute, the diplomat also said.

Energy good opportunity for peace

Following a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama last week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he saw a good opportunity for progress toward ending the division of Cyprus, a move that could further the exploitation of natural gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile in the same week, Charles Ellinas, executive chairman of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company, told Reuters that there was a chance developing the gas could lead Turkey and Cyprus to bridge their 40-year differences.

Turkish President Abdullah Gül said earlier this month that Turkey would welcome a new model of cooperation that could see the transfer of resources from the Mediterranean to global markets via Turkey. “I would like to once again underline here that it will benefit all parties to agree on a joint deal on the transportation of gas reserves off the island of Cyprus,” Gül said, adding that the cooperation would “surely facilitate the solution of political problems we face in this region.”

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday the distribution of Israeli and Greek Cypriot gas to Europe via Turkey was sustainable. “It is a must for Turkey to enable [Turkish Cyprus] to have its share from these energy sources. We believe that [Greek Cyprus] will adopt a positive position here. We see energy as a peace dividend, not a cause for conflict,” Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

Efforts to reunite Cyprus have repeatedly failed, but the Turkish side sees the election of President Nicos Anastasiades, who backed the Annan Plan in 2004 to resolve the division, as the best hope in years of reaching a deal.