If Turkey is genuine about talks to reunify the island, it must first recognize the Republic Cyprus, President Nikos Anastasiades said on Thursday.
He was responding to earlier remarks by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who repeated a demand that the island’s natural gas reserves be split equitably with Turkish Cypriots. Cavusoglu had also called on the European Union to intervene so that Cypriot natural gas goes to Europe through Turkey.
“What I have to say to Mr Cavusoglu, is that if he truly wishes for us to hold talks, then first and foremost they need to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
“Secondly,” he went on, “and equally important, they must accept our proposal, our invitation either to have a dialogue to delineate the demarcation lines for the Exclusive Economic Zones of the Republic and of Turkey, or to go to arbitration.”
Should Ankara agree to this, and a decision determines the demarcation lines between the two countries’ EEZs, everything can be on the table, also provided that studies show that this solution would be optimal.
Asked whether Nicosia prefers a pipeline running from Israel to Cyprus, and a floating liquefaction unit for the gas in Cyprus, Anastasiades said this is not a matter for Cyprus alone.
“It would be a quadrilateral decision among Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Italy,” he noted, alluding to the mooted East Med pipeline.