Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis considered cutting Cyprus out of key gas pipeline proposals to try and improve Athens-Ankara relations, a book by Cypriot writer Costis Hadjicostis claims.
Hadjicostis’ claims drew a strong denial from former President Nicos Anastasiades – who the author cites as the cause of the apparent rift between Nicosia and Athens.
Indeed, the explosive claims paint Anastasiades as deeply unhappy with Mitsotakis’ alleged efforts of trying to improve ties with Turkey seemingly at the expense of Cyprus.
The book – 7 Presidents Portraits – claims that Anastasiades was deeply unhappy with Mitsotakis’ proposal that Cyprus stop drilling in the area to appease Ankara. It is also claimed that Mitsotakis was in favour of a gas pipeline between Turkey and Israel which would bypass Cyprus.
Cyprus and its division is also portrayed as a “problem” which Greece attempts to distance itself from.
Hadjicostis’ allegations, made in his book on the presidents of Cyprus – updated after Anastasiades left office – gained a wider audience after it was featured in a front-page piece in the Greek daily newspaper Estia.
That prompted Anastasiades to issue a denial, in which he stated that “not only [are the claims] not true but they are contradicted by the facts themselves and the excellent and flawless cooperation between me and PM Mitsotakis, as the author himself notes”.
That’s in stark contrast to the claims carried by Politis, which states that on page 338 Hadjicostis recalled a conversation he had with Anastasiades in which the former president said Cyprus is not among Greece’s priorities in terms of foreign policy.
The president allegedly added that Greece does its utmost to not have “the problem of Cyprus” in front of it.
In a later section of the book, the author further claims that he asked Anastasiades about the working relationship between him and his then counterpart in Greece – noting their common policies and values stated in public.
“Costi, you’re opening up the Mitsotakis issue, it’s serious – I won’t go into the details…” the author says, then claiming that Anastasiades used derogatory language to describe his counterpart.
The author claims that he does not wish to republish the exact comments made, saying it is improper.
In response, Anastasiades stated that the entire publication is based on claims made by the author himself – which unfortunately distort the true events and do not reflect the conversation.