Turkish President, Abdullah Gul said that the economic crisis in South Cyprus presented a major opportunity to end the division of Cyprus between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
“There is at the moment significant economic crisis on the island. This should be seen as important opportunity … Because if the island were to unite, there would be a greater economic potential,” Gul said during an official visit to Lithuania
“There are some restrictions, embargoes on the island. Our suggestion is to lift any and all kinds of restrictions or embargoes simultaneously so that we can create a new climate for moving forward,” he said. “I hope that this message will be well understood.”
Turkey’s refusal to extend a customs agreement with the European Union by opening its ports to goods from South Cyprus has hindered the EU accession talks. Nevertheless, relations between Greece and Turkey have thawed over the years, making a resolution seem more possible than in the past.
Beset by economic crisis at home, mainland Greece last month pledged to double annual trade with Turkey to 10 billion euro by 2015.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul last month and signed deals on issues ranging from agriculture to disaster relief.
Gul said the potential for cooperation between Turkey and Greece might potentially aid the reunification of Cyprus to an even greater extent.