Turkish Cypriot premier says economy most important agenda item
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus should be able to stand on its feet: Faiz Sucuoglu
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The new prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Sunday that economy tops the government's priority list.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Faiz Sucuoglu said he wants the TRNC to stand on its own feet in terms of the economy.
“We will have concrete plans and programs in that direction, which are being prepared,” Sucuoglu said of the new coalition government, which won the vote of confidence on Saturday.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, higher education and tourism, which are the two leading sectors of the TRNC, were also affected, he said.
Expressing full support for the "two-state solution based on sovereign equality on the Cyprus Island" policy carried out by President Ersin Tatar and supported by Turkey, he said: "We show 100% parallelism with our president (on the Cyprus issue). We will continue to do so and will show all kinds of support for the 'two sovereign states' on the Cyprus (Island).”
He said the Turkish Cypriots wasted their energy with the “federation deception” for more than 50 years, and no progress has been made in this regard.
“We are still faced with a mentality that sees the Turkish Cypriots as a minority ... we have no problems with good neighborliness with them (Greek Cypriots). (Making efforts for) Two separate sovereign equal states is the right decision,” he said.
On the Eastern Mediterranean issue, he said they are determined to protect their rights in the region. “Neither Turkey nor the TRNC will give up their rights on this issue. Our struggle will continue together."
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, rejects maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that the excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Former TRNC premier Ersan Saner, who formed a coalition government last December, stepped down on Oct. 13.
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 aiming at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. 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 Turkey, Greece, and the UK.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted the UN's Annan plan to end the decades-long dispute.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar in Ankara