Gas discovery may aid Cyprus solution

Gas discovery may aid Cyprus solution

Gas discovery may aid Cyprus solution

Turkish PM Erdoğan has said there is a good opportunity to end the division of Cyprus, which could boost oil and gas exploration around the island. DHA photo

Oil and gas exploration around Cyprus could soon be receiving a major boost, following what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan termed a "good opportunity" for progress toward ending the island’s division.

“We believe that there is a lot of opportunity to reach an agreement on the Cyprus issue, and this is an area which we continue to focus on,” Erdoğan said May 16 at a news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama during a trip to Washington.

Efforts to reunite the island have repeatedly failed for a long time but Turkish officials say the election in February of President Nicos Anastasiades, who backed a 2004 U.N. plan to resolve the division, presents the best hope in years of reaching a deal.

Meanwhile on the same day, 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.

“One of the reasons Turkey has been putting so much pressure on everybody is because of their own needs [for gas],” he said.

The issue was also discussed by both Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Energy Minister Taner Yıldız last week at an energy conference in Istanbul.

Gül said 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.”

Yıldız said the Turkish government was ready for possible cooperation with Nicosia and Tel Aviv to transfer Cyprus gas reserves to global markets.