Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to travel to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday for a two-day official visit. He has said he will deliver “good news” in the breakaway state.
But the visit could also further stoke tensions with Greek Cypriots and the European Union over the divided Eastern Mediterranean island, already high over Turkish ambitions in the region and its support for a two-state solution to the Cyprus dispute.
On Tuesday, Erdogan will attend an event marking the 47th anniversary of Turkey’s military intervention – seen as an invasion by Greek Cypriots – on the island and will address the Northern Cyprus parliament in a special session.
“I hope we will give messages in the best manner possible for the establishment of the world peace for the island and the whole world through the ceremonies [in Northern Cyprus],” he said in remarks on Friday.
“We have a good step. We have finished the preliminary studies,” the Turkish president said, without giving any further details on the issue.
Repeated diplomatic initiatives over decades to end the dispute have failed.
An UN-initiated gathering in Geneva last April failed to broker a deal between Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to resume negotiations stalled in 2017. An Ankara-backed Turkish Cypriot push for a two-state solution to the dispute in Geneva only escalated tensions.
The Greek Cypriot side, and the international community in general, back a federal solution.
Mensur Akgun, a professor of international relations at Istanbul Kultur University, said Erdogan is expected to strongly underline his support for a two-state solution to the island’s dispute during his visit.
“Turkey has gradually shifted its stance from a federal solution on the island to two-state solution as a settlement could not be found to the dispute on the grounds of the former after decades of talks,” he told Al Jazeera.
“However, Turkey has not yet put forward a road map to convince the international community and the Greek Cypriot to divert into this direction,” Akgun said, adding that this should be the next step on the Turkish side.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday the EU would “never accept” a two-state proposal for a solution in Cyprus.
“I want to repeat that we will never, ever, accept a two-state solution, we are firm on that and very united, and this is what Cyprus can expect,” von der Leyen stated during a visit to the island.
“The most precious part is unity in the EU, and the knowledge that all 26 member states at the European level are standing by your side,” she said, speaking alongside President Nicos Anastasiades.
Akgun said in order to convince the world to accept a two-state solution, Ankara should promote Northern Cyprus as an independent entity and treat the de facto state as its equal.
According to Turkish press, Erdogan is set to announce that the former no-man’s zone Varosha township will be open to both ethnicities. The public property in the district, such as beaches, hospitals and schools. Erdogan could also announce that Geek Cypriotes are welcome to re-settle in their property in Varosha, or apply to the Land Reconciliation Board to receive payment in lieu of the property they abandoned.
Finally, Haberturk daily claims Azerbaijan and Pakistan may be ready to grant diplomatic recognition to TRNC.
Al Jazeera, Haberturk, Milliyet
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