Cyprus finance minister says Turkey’s aggression towards its neighbors is an obstacle

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Turkey’s “aggression” towards its neighbors represents an obstacle to any plans to move forward in all sectors, Cyprus’ Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides told Al Arabiya in an interview.

“Unfortunately, Turkey is portraying intransigency and aggression towards its neighbors... which is indeed an obstacle in the mutual benefit of all people. So, I hope Turkey reconsiders its aggressive stance vis-à-vis its neighbors and especially, Cyprus, which is partially occupied by Turkey, in order to see the common good,” Petrides said.

Turkey has been pushing for a separate Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot states, which Cyprus’ President sees as an attempt to control the whole of the east Mediterranean island.

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Asked about the Turkish military presence in the north of Cyprus, the finance minister said it was a hindrance to Cyprus’ ability to become “the Switzerland of the Eastern Mediterranean” which would stand to benefit “both the Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island.”

He also added that Turkish ambitions for the island are an obstacle to luring foreign investors.

“The political issue that Cyprus is facing because of Turkey is a drawback for Cyprus and the neighbors... the prospects would have been much, much greater,” Petrides said.

The finance minister also pointed out that Cyprus is looking to strengthening its ties with Gulf countries, especially in the field of energy.

“I think the president visited the GCC countries more than two times and he is coming here at the end of the year as well. And the energy sectors is of course one of the most important sectors that have to be enhanced and that is in the plans of the government,” Petrides added.

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