President Nicos Anastasiades said if Turkey recognises the Republic of Cyprus and accepts delineating the Exclusive Economic Zones between the two countries, everything could be on the table regarding natural gas.
He responded to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who referred to an equitable sharing of natural gas with Turkish Cypriots.
Cavusoglu urged the EU to intervene so that a natural gas pipeline could go through Cyprus to Turkey and then to Europe before a Cyprus solution.
“If indeed Cavusoglu wishes to talk, before and above everything else, they should recognise the Republic of Cyprus,” President Anastasiades said.
“Accepting our proposal – invitation either for dialogue to delineate the EEZ between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey or go to arbitration is equally as important.”
“And the decision will define the lines between the two countries’ EEZs; everything could be on the table if studies show that such a solution will be the most optimal one.”
Asked whether Nicosia prefers a pipeline from Israel to Cyprus and a floating LNG unit on the island, he replied: “it is not a matter of Cyprus; it is a matter of a quadrilateral decision between Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Italy.”
He added that it is a project the sustainability study that Europe felt it should fund to be carried out; therefore, it is not a matter for Cyprus.
Invited to say whether he still believes the EastMed pipeline is viable, he replied: “Everything will depend on the study being carried out with EU funding.”
For decades, Turkey has been at odds with Greece and Cyprus over territorial claims in the East Mediterranean, air space and energy.
And Turkey does not acknowledge that the Nicosia government, which it doesn’t recognise, has a continental shelf at all.
It has also sent warships to try and block its energy exploration inside Cyprus waters.