The visit to Israel last week of Özdil Nami, Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, although unofficial, has upset the Greek Cypriots, Israeli ‘Haaretz’ reports online.
Nami was a keynote speaker at the Israel Energy and Business Convention 2014 in Tel Aviv – meanwhile Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was visiting Cyprus and meeting with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.
Northern Cyprus was occupied by Turkey in 1974 and its government is not recognised by any country, excepting Turkey. Nami’s visit, although unofficial, as probably sanctioned by both Ankara and Jerusalem.
“The discovery of vast natural gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean has enmeshed Turkey, Israel and Cyprus in a web of shifting alliances and conflicts, which are complicated by the shaky relations between Israel and Turkey, the largest energy consumer in the region, and the ongoing division of Cyprus”, ‘Haaretz’ reports.
It adds that Nami’s participation in the conference was omitted from the programme.
‘Famagusta Gazette’ reported that another speaker at the conference, Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC) head Toula Onoufriou was shocked by the presence of “a so-called official from a pseudo state, which is the result of the continuous occupation and invasion of Cyprus by Turkey”.
Nami said during his speech that the Turkish Cypriots share the rights to the hydrocarbons off shore Cyprus.
He added that it was essential to create peace and stability in the turbulent the Middle East. The de-escalating of tension in the eastern Mediterranean needed the input of all the regional players.
Following his meeting with Ioannis Kasoulides, Lieberman said that [South] Cyprus’ EEZ must be respected by all countries, including Turkey.