By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) expects Azerbaijan to officially recognize the country, Prime Minister Faiz Sucuoglu said Thursday.
"Our expectation, especially as brothers, is that Azerbaijan, with whom we come from the same roots, speak the same language and share the same religion, will recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which will be an important step," Faiz Sucuoglu told Anadolu Agency.
Sucuoglu noted that there would be no federal solution to the on-and-off peace process on the island, "so we have given our decision on it."
"From now on, there will be the status of two sovereign, equal states (on the island)," he said.
"On this issue, there is our President Ersin Tatar's upright stance and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's incredible support.”
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation of the island led to Turkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkiye, Greece and the UK.
Sucuoglu noted that the active policy of President Erdogan has put Turkish Cyprus at ease.
"They will know that if they slap, they will be punched. This is how the motherland [Turkiye] protects us. Therefore, we are very comfortable with this direction in the TRNC, because we know that behind us, there is the huge power of 84 million [Turkish people]," he said.
Sucuoglu also pointed to the importance of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"Cyprus is an unsinkable aircraft carrier. Whoever dominates Cyprus is the one who dominates the Middle East and North Africa. There are the TRNC and the motherland. Turkish Cyprus will continue its struggle in this direction until the end," he added.
Turkiye, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that the excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkiye and the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region, including maritime disputes, through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations.