Turkey, Turkish Cypriots sign financial cooperation agreement

Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have signed an investment-oriented economic and monetary cooperation agreement, Turkish state-run Anadolu new agency reported on Thursday.

Turkey will allocate 2.5 billion liras ($337 million) to the TRNC within the scope of the agreement that will be used for infrastructure investments, Anadolu said.

Since its foundation in 1983, the TRNC has heavily relied on financial assistance from Turkey.

The agreement was signed by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and TRNC Prime Minister Ersan Saner.

“We, as the mother and the guarantor country, will continue to do our best for the Turkish Cypriots to continue living in peace, tranquillity and prosperity and looking at the future with confidence,” Oktay said during a joint press conference in Ankara.

Cyprus has been divided since a Turkish invasion was prompted by a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece in 1974.

Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the TRNC, recognised only by Turkey, the northern third.

Ahead of the United Nation-led talks expected to take place in April, Oktay reiterated Turkey’s support for a two-state solution to the Cyprus issue.

"We will continue the struggle for rights and equity until the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots are acknowledged and the political equality of our brothers on the island is settled," Oktay said.

Oktay said that, like the TRNC, Turkey would not accept European Union representation at the April talks.

Turkey and TRNC were completely united, Oktay said, stressing there would no backing down over the decision to reopen Varosha, the former resort town of the eastern city of Famagusta, abandoned in no-man’s land during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Turkish Cypriot authorities partially reopened the former Mediterranean tourist hotspot on Oct. 8 despite international criticism.

Experts estimate the value of land in Varosha alone, without the existing hotels and buildings, to be around $100 billion. 

"Regardless of the conditions, we will continue to stand by the TRNC and stand shoulder to shoulder with the Turkish Cypriots. Those who expect the contrary are doomed to be disappointed as always. Turkey and the TRNC will win together, succeed together and walk together,” Oktay said.