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Peace deal could foster energy projects: Yildiz

27 February 2014

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz repeated Turkey’s willingness to transport Cypriot oil and gas to international markets, via a pipeline that could pass through the country if political disagreement at the region could be settled.

The Energy Minister welcomed the latest peace negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cyprus leaders as a step that could pave the way for energy projects.

“The softening between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration is, of course, significant,” Yildiz told the press yesterday.

“I hope for the dispersal of the negative political environment in the Mediterranean and the opening of the way for energy-related projects,” he added.

“I believe a pipeline that would carry Cypriot gas to Europe via Turkey could be built, just like the way we carry water to Cyprus with pipelines,” Yildiz said, noting that “political feasibility” was the main pre-requisite for such projects. “I think the energy sector is eligible to handle these projects, both in terms of financing and technicals,” he said.

Yildiz also expressed his approval of the joint statement recently released by the negotiating parties, describing it as “a study that consolidates Turkey’s argument.” Turkey has maintained for a long time that South Cyprus should share the revenue from the sale of recently discovered off-shore energy resources with both sides of the divided island. Turkey opposes South Cyprus exporting oil and gas, saying the energy wealth also belongs to Turkish Cypriots. This stance has led to accusations of “gunship diplomacy” from the Greek Cypriots.

The discovery of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean has significantly influenced the political dynamics in the region, bringing hope for reconciliation sufficient to broker a peace settlement for the island.

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