ANKARA

The prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Wednesday said that Turkish Cypriots used their will to push forward a two-state solution in negotiations instead of federation proposals on the long-divided island.

With the strong support of Turkey, “the will in the last presidential elections in the TRNC was realized in the direction of the continuation of the negotiations with the status of two sovereigns, equal states,” Ersan Saner told reporters following a meeting with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Saying that the Greek Cypriot administration has not discussed anything other than federation proposals for over 50 years, Saner added: “We said that we don’t have the strength to endure another 53 years.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded in 1983.

The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the European Union.

Turkish Cyprus to begin face-to-face education in universities

Saner also expressed gratitude to Turkish officials for providing coronavirus vaccines.

Citing his visit to Ankara last December, when it was decided to send a half-million coronavirus doses to the island, Saner said: “This 500,000 doses of vaccine are hugely important for paving the way for the TRNC’s economy.”

Noting that all tourism and education workers were included in the vaccination program, Saner said the country’s universities will return to face-to-face education in September.

“Since our country’s economy is based on the service sector, we mainly included all tourism and education workers in the vaccination program,” he added.

“Hopefully, with the support of YOK (Turkish Council of Higher Education), the 2021-2022 higher education period will start face-to-face in the TRNC in September,” Saner said.

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