By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - The deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Monday urged the government to step up efforts for the international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Speaking to journalists in Parliament, Ozturk Yilmaz suggested the appointment of a "special envoy" to work "exclusively" towards this end.
Yilmaz recalled that the general elections would be held in TRNC on Jan. 7, followed by elections in the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus three weeks later.
"If the [unification] negotiations are not yielding a result, then the international recognition of TRNC must be put on the [government] agenda," he said, referring to the on-again, off-again peace process on the divided island in recent years.
Turkey has blamed Greek Cypriot intransigence after the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and Britain collapsed earlier this year. Ankara has also faulted the European Union for admitting Cyprus as a divided island into the union in 2004, after the Greek Cypriot administration rejected a peace deal.
Yilmaz said the government must take "strong" steps to bring the recognition issue to the attention of the international community, and "get results".
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is currently recognized only by Turkey as an independent state.