Erdogan Opposes Compromise on Turkey's Position on Gas Resources in Cyprus
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly opposed any compromise on the country's position on natural gas resources surrounding areas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Cyprus. In an opening address at the 6th World Forum on Energy Regulation that took place in Istanbul, President Erdogan said that Turkey is the key country to ship natural resources to international energy markets.
In his speech, President Erdogan said that Turkey's geographical position is in the centre of East-West and North-South energy corridors and must be a catalyst to increase partnerships in the energy sector. "Turkey will be the strong bridge which will hold producer and energy importing countries," Erdogan said.
Regarding the energy security perspective, the Southern Gas Corridor and TANAP, in which Turkey holds a stake, there will be an increase in the energy supply and a diversification of energy resources, President Erdogan said.
"The natural resources surrounding Cyprus will hold a strong role in the Eastern Mediterranean energy map, as well as our energy diplomacy approach. Turkey will not give any compromise on energy policy on TRNC and the island's energy resources. The energy resources will be the property of both sides of the island, not only Greek Cypriots. Within this context, Turkey will be the the key country to ship these resources to international markets," Erdogan said.
The divided island of Cyprus' resident Turkish and Greek communities have held talks since early May following a disruption from last year. Cyprus pulled out of talks in October after Turkey sent a seismic ship to explore for natural gas in an area claimed by the Eastern Mediterranean island under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Turkey withdrew the ship in March.
Hopes for a reunification settlement of the problem were revived after left-center leader Mustafa Akinci swept in with an electoral victory in April to become the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. The two leaders Mustafa Akinci and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades held talks in Nicosia on last Saturday and will reconvene on May 28.
The island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern third and a Greek Cypriot administration in the southern two-thirds after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by the operation of Turkey as a guarantor state in Cyprus.
Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, but the membership only applies to the southern area. The Turkish Cypriots remain isolated, with the country only recognized by Ankara and remaining heavily dependent on Turkey. Turkey pays around $1 billion a year for TRNC.
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