Turkish Cypriot foreign minister calls on Islamic countries for official recognition

Urgent steps needed to overcome inhuman restrictions, embargoes imposed on Turkish Cypriots, says Tahsin Ertugruloglu.

Turkish Cypriot foreign minister calls on Islamic countries for official recognition

The Turkish Cypriot foreign minister on Thursday called on Islamic countries to officially recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The recognition would re-affirm sovereign equality and equal international status of the TRNC, Tahsin Ertugruloglu told the annual coordination meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Countries members at the UN headquarters in New York, according to a statement by the TRNC’s Foreign Ministry.

Five decades of failed negotiations led us to develop a new policy, he said, adding that urgent steps by OIC’s member states are needed to overcome inhuman and immoral restrictions and embargos imposed on TRNC by the Greek Cypriot administration.

Such a move would also correspond with the OIC’s understanding of solidarity among Islamic nations, Ertugruoglu said.

“The reality is, he stressed, that there are two equal and separate nations in Cyprus and any attempt aiming to find a resolution to the decades-long dispute should take this state of affairs into consideration,” he said.

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots 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 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 joined the EU in 2004, the same year when Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.