NICOSIA – A meeting in Athens between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that further eased tensions has brought some hope it will lead to restarting talks about reunifying Cyprus.
President Nikos Christodoulides said he would speak later with Mitsotakis about what resulted from discussions on a range of issues, including the dilemma of Cyprus, where a minority Turkish-Cypriot side occupies the northern third.
“May there be positive results. I believe that the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations is something that will also help our own efforts,” the President said after lunch with European Union ambassadors.
“The position of Athens is well known that there can be no full normalization without the solution of the Cyprus problem, so any meeting which will actually have positive results, I think will also help our own effort,” he said, The Cyprus Mail reported.
Asked if the Cyprus problem was among topics talked about, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said: “The Cyprus problem is always high on the Greek government agenda.”
In an interview with the Kathimerini newspaper ahead of his visit to Athens, Erdogan mentioned Cyprus and the issue of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish ships drilling offshore in parts of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that it doesn’t recognize.
The EU has imposed soft sanctions on Turkey for the drilling, exempting Erdogan, while the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government has licensed foreign companies to look for oil and gas offshore, including American companies.