The Turkish vice president on Wednesday said Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should work toward building a self-sufficient TRNC.
Fuat Oktay spoke at a joint press conference with TRNC Prime Minister Ersan Saner following their meeting at the presidential complex in capital Ankara.
Underling that Turkey’s support to ongoing projects in TRNC will continue, Oktay said: “We together should build a TRNC that would be self-sufficient and stand on its own feet.”
Describing his meeting with Saner as fruitful, he said close cooperation and dialogue between the two countries continue on every level.
Drawing particular attention to the ongoing infrastructure projects in TRNC, Oktay reiterated that Turkey is determined to support Turkish Cypriots toward becoming a self-sufficient state.
He said projects in sports, education and health were reviewed during the meeting, noting that Turkey will continue to contribute to the TRNC’s economy that has been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Saner said people in the TRNC voted for the continuation of negotiations to resolve the Cyprus issue on the basis of two sovereign, equal states.
Saying that the Greek Cypriot administration has not discussed anything other than solution based on a federation system for over 50 years, Saner added: “We said 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 TRNC was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004.
Saner also expressed gratitude to Turkish officials for providing coronavirus vaccines.
Citing his visit to Ankara last December, when it was decided to send half a million vaccine doses to the island, Saner said: “These 500,000 doses of vaccine are hugely important for paving the way to recovery of the TRNC’s economy.”
Noting that all tourism and education workers are included in the vaccination program, the TRNC premier said his 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 said. “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.”
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