Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) signed a financial cooperation agreement Wednesday.
The signing ceremony for the Turkey-TRNC 2021 Economic and Monetary Cooperation Agreement was held after Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay received TRNC Prime Minister Ersan Saner and his commission.
Oktay said the agreement is a significant outcome of the close contact maintained with the TRNC.
"Our main goal in this agreement is investments. Our aim is to contribute to the formation of a self-sufficient TRNC economy by strengthening the areas with a high multiplier effect in the TRNC. With this agreement, we allocate 2.5 billion liras ($336.83 million) of new resources to the TRNC this year. We anticipate total support of 3.25 billion liras ($437.88 million) with the amount transferred from last year," he said during a joint press conference following the meeting.
Underlining that solidarity, sincerity and brotherhood comprise the basis of the agreement, Oktay said: "In many fields, we will provide support which is sustainable and which transforms the aspects that hamper and hinder the society in the TRNC, and we have already determined these fields. The 2021 Turkey-TRNC Economic and Monetary Cooperation Agreement, with its investment-oriented structure, consists of actions that will strengthen the current infrastructure in especially transportation, communication, trade, industry and youth and sports as well as the field of local administrations. In the coming days, our Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan will pay a working visit to the TRNC to clarify the factors that we can turn into opportunities."
The agreement covers investments in infrastructure in the field of health, main road projects and the establishment of a new industrial zone in the TRNC as well as providing support for the industrial zone.
Cooperation on electronic access to government for reducing bureaucracy and a data center project, cooperation in distance education programming, strengthening local administrations as well as youth, sports, tourism and cultural projects are also among the topics included in the agreement.
"We, as the mother country and guarantor country, will continue to do our best for the Turkish Cypriots to continue living in peace, tranquility and prosperity and looking at the future with confidence," Oktay said.
- Success of development move
Reminding that it is extremely crucial to eliminate the artificial obstacles unrightfully placed before the TRNC in the international field, Oktay said "the success of the development move is our ultimate goal."
He said they do not accept when prejudices forestall the truth in the conscience of the international community.
Oktay said the Greek side of the island has never taken any concrete steps relevant to the solution of the Cyprus issue, while “the TRNC was left alone with embargoes and ignoring, simply abandoned to its fate even in an issue like the fight against COVID."
“The EU has managed to send the TRNC a small amount of vaccines, which is not even worth mentioning. We, as the mother and guarantor country, certainly did not stand by this, and we will not. This week, we are sending 20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the TRNC. Thus, our total vaccine aid reaches 100,000 doses," he said.
"Our approach to the unofficial 5+UN meeting, which will take place at the end of April, is also clear. The only way to find a solution is the two-state model, sovereign equality. The European Union, which is the reason why the Cyprus issue has become almost gangrenous, expects to take part at the negotiation table in Geneva. We do not see that the European Union as a party has much to contribute to this process, and we share the same opinion as the TRNC on this issue," Oktay said.
"With our belief in the national cause, 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," he added.
Oktay emphasized that the unjust embargoes imposed on the TRNC will not be put up with.
"Turkey and the TRNC will win together, succeed together and walk together," he said.
"Hereby, with Mr. Saner, we declare to the whole world once again: Our unity of ideas is intact. We will not give up on our decision to revive the Maras region. We will not back down from our will for a solution with two sovereign states. 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."
Reporting by Abdullah Yasin Guler and Muhammet Ikbal Arslan in Ankara/Lefkosa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Writing by Dilan Pamuk