Jul 02 2018

Erdoğan set to visit North Cyprus

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will travel to Nicosia in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for his first trip overseas since winning the Jun. 24 elections, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Monday.

Erdoğan is set to officiate over the opening of the Hala Sultan Mosque in norther Nicosia directly after his inauguration ceremony on Jul. 9, the Greek newspaper reports.

Turkey is the only country that recognises north Cyprus as a state, and played a significant role in the division of the country into the northern Turkish side and Greek Republic of Cyprus on the islands south, after invading the island in 1974 in response to a coup in Cyprus ordered by the Greek military junta in Athens.

Gas exploration in the rich waters around the island have become a severe point of contention for Turkey, which rejects any exploration by the Greek republic, which it does not recognise.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s electoral allies in the June elections, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), takes a hard line on the Cyprus issue, arousing fears that Turkey’s nationalist-dominated parliament could stand as a challenging obstacle to reunification.