Defense Minister calls on Ankara to shift stance on Cyprus

Defense Minister Nikos Dendias has called on Ankara to accept that Cyprus is an internationally recognized state, noting that the move would be a potential boon for Turkish Cypriots in view of the existence of energy resources off the island’s coast.

In an interview with Kathimerini, Dendias said it would be “in the extreme interest of Ankara, particularly in view of the potential for exploiting energy resources and maximizing of the benefits for Turkish Cypriots…to accept that there is a single and unique state on Cyprus which is recognized by the international community: the Cyprus Republic.”

Dendias also expressed cautious optimism for Greek-Turkish relations — which have recently foundered, partly due to Turkish violations of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. He said he believed the Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council, which is to convene early next month in Athens, could be a “stepping stone” for bilateral ties. He noted, however that longstanding problems could not disappear “as if by magic.”

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