'Recognize Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as soon as possible': Turkish president

'Recognize Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as soon as possible': Turkish president

'Our whole effort is to ensure that the peace we brought to Cyprus island in 1974 becomes permanent,' says Erdogan

By Muhammed Enes Calli

ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged countries around the world on Thursday to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) without delay.

"I'm reiterating the historic call I made to the entire world from the UN podium: Recognize the TRNC as soon as possible," Erdogan said at an official ceremony marking Türkiye's 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, which laid the groundwork for the country's foundation nine years later.

"Our whole effort is to ensure that the peace we brought to Cyprus island in 1974 becomes permanent. We desire a just and sustainable solution," he added during the event in the TRNC's capital Lefkosa. Turkish Cypriots hold yearly celebrations on July 20 as Peace and Freedom Day.

Erdogan stressed that under the current conditions, a long-pursued federal solution on Cyprus was no longer possible, ruling out negotiations until "the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriots are recognized."

Adding that the TRNC would remain a fortress for Türkiye and Turkic states in the Eastern Mediterranean, he affirmed that "no matter the circumstances, we will not back down from our efforts to confirm the equal sovereignty and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriots."

- Cyprus issue

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation of the island led to Türkiye'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 Türkiye, Greece, and the UK.

The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

Türkiye fully supports a two-state solution on the island of Cyprus based on sovereign equality and equal international status.

- Ercan Airport

Erdogan is currently on an official visit to the TRNC. Earlier, he attended the inauguration of an expansion to Ercan Airport, which serves Lefkosa.

The days when Ercan Airport's new terminal and runway will be full of international flights "are not far away," the Turkish president said in his speech at the opening ceremony.

"The new terminal is six times larger than the previous one, meaning it is now capable of serving 10 million passengers," he said, noting that international airport boasted a greater annual passenger capacity than any other facility on Cyprus.

"This masterpiece will help turn the TRNC, a symbol of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, into a brand (of its own) in the region," he added.

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