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Israel’s warmer Turkey ties will not hurt Cyprus

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Israel will not let any warming of relations with Turkey affect its blossoming partnership with Cyprus and Greece, said Israeli Ambassador Oren Anolik.

He told the Cyprus News Agency: “Israel and Cyprus are good friends and strategic partners.

“We don’t have any intention to change this no matter what will be our relations with other countries in the region.

“We feel that there are a lot of opportunities and potentials.”

Anolik said President Nicos Anastasiades is leading a very positive policy on relations with Israel.

“He is seen as a real friend of Israel and is appreciated for doing this.

“I have every reason to believe that no matter who is going to be elected in Cyprus (as the new President), this will continue.”

Asked about the rapprochement between Israel and Turkey and if this may affect relations between Cyprus and Israel, Anolik said: “We were very clear at all levels…by sending very clear messages to the Cypriot leadership, saying this is not a zero-sum game.”

“We will not in any way pay with a Cypriot currency for what might happen with Turkey.

“We will not let any kind of warming of relations with Turkey affect our relations with our very good friends in Cyprus and also in Greece as well.

“This was a very clear message, and we stand by it.”

He said relations between Israel and Turkey have a long history of ups and downs.

“We believe that this actually creates a kind of a triangle in which we can all work together in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Middle East: Israel and Cyprus and Greece and Arab and Muslim countries.

“If Turkey has better relations with us and maybe with some other countries in the region, I think this brings more stability to the region…and Cyprus can actually benefit from this.”

Anolik said Cyprus would have a friend “who is capable of reaching the ears of Ankara and be able to transmit messages if needed”.

Israel is among the top four countries for tourists coming to Cyprus.

“We are heading towards repeating the record that we had before COVID-19.

“Before COVID-19, we had 300,000 Israelis coming to Cyprus. This year is not over yet, and we will probably be close to this number.”

Energy

On Cyprus-Israel energy cooperation, he said there is a “huge potential” in this sector.

“Europe is striving to find new energy resources; we can be helpful, modestly at the moment.

“The recent discoveries of more reservoirs in the Eastern Mediterranean are interesting in this regard, and there are ongoing discussions all the time between Israel and Cyprus.”

Anolik also said that “we continue to see what can be done regarding the EastMed pipeline.

“We are waiting for the feasibility study.

“There are different elements that need to be studied, some related to the technical aspects, some with the financial aspects, some with the environment and also with the political aspects.

“But this is an issue that is still open.

“I think a very interesting project is also the EuroAsia Interconnector. There is a desire to push on this issue as well.”

He said, “energy is a long-term kind of game. It takes time. But all in all, it continues to be a major pillar in our relations.”