Cyprus President Trumpets Energy Boost for Turkey

From ABC News

By Menelaos Hadjicostis

An agreement to end the 40-year division of Cyprus could act as a catalyst to improve relations between Turkey and Israel, the president of the small Mediterranean island nation said Monday.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Nicos Anastasiades said the reunification of ethnically-divided Cyprus could act as a linchpin to regional energy cooperation that could heal strained relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

The two former allies fell out dramatically after Israeli commandos stormed a pro-Palestinian ship trying to breach a blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. The raid killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American.

“A Cyprus settlement, reached as quickly as possible, will assist not only in Israeli (gas export) planning, but also contribute greatly to restoring relations with Turkey,” Anastasiades said.

Cyprus was split into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of the island’s union with Greece.

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