ANKARA, Turkey, April 4 (UPI) -- The Cypriot government has the best chance to get its natural gas to the global market through Turkey's help, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said.
Turkey is the only government to recognize a Turkish Cypriot state on the northern section of the island. Cyprus was divided in 1974 after Turkish forces invaded. Simsek said the Cypriot government should consider a U.N.-backed reunification as part of a $12.8 billion financial rescue package.
The International Monetary Fund said the terms of a bailout package for Cyprus would be challenging. Cypriots welcomed protection for jurisdiction of lucrative offshore natural gas deposits, however.
Simsek said any plans by Cyprus to exploit its natural gas riches without considering Turkish claims would be difficult.
"These natural resources should be used for the benefit of both communities," he was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying.
The best, and easiest, way for Cyprus to court the international energy market would be through Turkey, he said.
"We'd like our neighbors to be stable, strong and prosperous," he said. "The best help we can give to South Cyprus would be a solution to the Cyprus problem in line with the U.N. solution in 2004."