By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) - Türkiye continues its efforts to secure international recognition for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Saturday.
"There are two equal states on the island. There are two sovereign states and we want this to be recognized. We ask Türkiye's friends to recognize this," Oktay told Anadolu during his visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Oktay's remarks came ahead of his meeting with TRNC President Ersin Tatar.
Following "intense" diplomatic efforts, Oktay said the TRNC obtained observer status in the Organization of Turkic States during last year’s summit in Uzbekistan.
"In the last extraordinary summit held in Türkiye, the president (Tatar) also took his place as an observer at that table," he added.
Türkiye will not allow the destruction of the Muslim Turkish minority on the island, Oktay stressed.
Ankara always reiterated that it backs a two-state solution on the island based on equal international status and sovereign equality.
- Cyprus issue
The island 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.
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. 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 was admitted to the EU in 2004, the same year when Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.