A settlement to the Cyprus problem could offer the possibility of running a gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to Turkey, either for domestic consumption or for transport to Europe, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said
In an interview with Greek-language daily ‘Kathimerini’, published on Sunday, referring to President Erdogan’s energy plans, the foreign minister said:
“[Such a development] implies, of course, a solution to the Cyprus problem for which Turkey is invited to contribute via stances that would allow a settlement, rather than positions that lead to dead ends”.
Kasoulides added that he did not consider any review in June of the recent EU-Turkey deal on stemming migrant flows implies progress for the Cyprus negotiations, neither would it mean a return to the subject of opening Turkey’s frozen EU accession chapters.
Before the EU deal with Turkey over the return of refugees was struck in March, President Nicos Anastasiades had demanded that there would be no opening of EU accession chapters for Turkey. Turkey had asked for chapters to be opened as part of the agreement with the EU, however, Anastasiades has insisted that Turkey opens it ports to South Cyprus traffic.
The South’s foreign minister said that, “Since, in the assessment of [Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu, before the European Council, we are close to solving the Cyprus problem, the problem of Turkey’s accession chapters would be automatically solved upon the securing of a Cyprus settlement”.
Referring to the Cyprus negotiations, Kasoulides said that the remaining chapters, the most critical, were slowing down the talks.
“When you negotiate the details, you encounter fresh problems that need to be resolved,” he said.
Regarding political developments in the island’s north, Kasoulides said Turkish President Mustafa Akinci was facing domestic problems and that Turkey should offer him visible support rather than dictating positions, such as calling for an additional number of settlers to be granted TRNC citizenship. This is something which only complicated the peace talks and could potentially create deadlocks, he said.