Northern Cyprus president rubbishes Greek Cypriot leader’s criticism of Türkiye pact

TRNC, Türkiye 'continue to fight inhumane isolation, restrictions imposed on Turkish Cypriots since 1963,' says Ersin Tatar.

Northern Cyprus president rubbishes Greek Cypriot leader’s criticism of Türkiye pact

An economic pact recently signed by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Türkiye holds “great importance,” the TRNC president said on Monday.

Rebuffing critical remarks about the agreement made by the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration, Ersin Tatar said the latest TRNC-Türkiye deal “seems to have annoyed (Nicos) Anastasiades a lot.”

Anastasiades has claimed the new financial assistance deal, along with some tweaks in air travel rules, are indicative of Ankara’s desire for "complete control” of Turkish Cypriots.

Dismissing his assertions, Tatar emphasized that the 2022 Economic and Financial Cooperation Protocol inked this April will provide the TRNC economy with a welcome boost.

The agreement, he said, “is of great importance … (and) will benefit our people, especially at a time when we are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.”

“The TRNC will continue to fight the inhumane isolation and restrictions imposed on Turkish Cypriots since 1963, together with our homeland Türkiye, which stands by us under all circumstances,” Tatar added.

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish 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 aiming at Greece’s annexation 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 entered the EU in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the UN’s Annan plan to end the long-standing dispute.

Hüseyin Demir