Nicosia, Sep 28 () - Turkish oil companies are in secret talks with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı has stated.
However, Greek Cypriot government spokesperson Nikos Hristoduludis has issued a slight correction to Akıncı’s remarks, saying the talks were not confidential and were openly known, and that even a Turkish public-owned corporation was among them.
Anastasiadis is in talks with Turkish companies that aim to purchase the natural gas off Cyprus’ coast and the talks are well known by everyone, including Greek Cypriot political parties, Hristodulidis said, stressing that this dialogue was an “important development.”
Anastasiadis’ response to Turkish companies is that cooperation on natural gas could only be realized after a solution to the divided island’s political problem, he added.
Nearly 10 Turkish companies including Turcas and Zorlu are interested in constructing a pipeline that will bring Israeli natural gas to Turkey, which is likely to cross near the island of Cyprus.
As the ongoing offshore hydrocarbon searches by Greek Cyprus remain an obstacle in the Cyprus talks, Turkish and Greek Cypriots signaled in March that they were considering halting the exploration for reserves in the eastern Mediterranean in order to restart negotiations for a reunification of the divided island.
Peace talks were halted last October, when Greek Cypriots suspended their participation after a row with Turkey over offshore hydrocarbon exploration. Greek Cyprus discovered gas offshore late 2011 but Turkey disputes its rights over the gas. Turkey dispatched an exploration vessel to carry out seismic research in Greek Cypriot-claimed waters late last year.