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Cyprus Ties Unity, Turkish Gas Line

NICOSIA – Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said no pipeline from Turkey will run through the island unless a deal is made for reunification.

He told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini’s April 10 Sunday edition that a Cyprus reunification deal could offer the possibility of routing a gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to Turkey, either for domestic consumption or for transport to Europe.

“(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 said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is keen on building his country’s energy standing and had previously ordered a research vessel and warship into Cypriot waters in search of oil and gas, violating the country’s sovereignty. Turkey unlawfully controls the northern third of the island.

Erdogan wrangled six billion euros, visa-free travel and a faster-track for Turkey’s aspirations of joining the European Union out of the bloc in return for a refugee swap that hasn’t fully begun yet, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades partially relented to unfreezing one chapter of Ankara’s bid.

Kasoulides said the EU, at the last minute, didn’t give in more after Anastasiades objected and because it would have given Erdogan leverage over the stalled talks to reunify Cyprus for the first time since 1974.

“It is for this reason that the pressure to unfreeze these chapters was circumvented by our partners,” he said.

“Since, in the assessment of (Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet) Davutoglu, before the European Council, we are close to solving the Cyprus problem,” Kasoulides said, the problem of Turkey’s accession chapters would be automatically solved upon the securing of a Cyprus settlement.

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