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Turkey: Gas feud may raise Cyprus partition option

July 20, 2013

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Turkey’s deputy prime minister says Cyprus’ formal partition may come up as an option in renewed talks to reunify the ethnically divided island if Greek Cypriots don’t share newfound gas deposits with breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

Besir Atalay was speaking Saturday at celebrations marking Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus that followed a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared independence in 1983 but only Turkey, which maintains 35,000 troops there, recognizes it.

Turkey strongly objects to a search for mineral deposits by the government in the Greek Cypriot south which is internationally recognized, but not by Ankara.

Greek Cypriots say both sides can share in the potential bounty after a reunification accord is achieved.

Long-running peace talks that stalled last year are expected to resume this autumn.

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