Turkish president speaks by phone with TRNC leader

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Mehmet Sah Yilmaz

ANKARA (AA) – The presidents of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) spoke by phone Thursday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ersin Tatar discussed the latest developments on the long-divided island and the coronavirus pandemic, including vaccination issues, the TRNC presidency said in a statement.

Erdogan congratulated the people of the TRNC on the Night of Raghaib, which marks the beginning of three holy months on the Islamic Hijri calendar: Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan.

He emphasized that the Turkish Cypriots are not alone in their fight against COVID-19 and that Ankara’s support will continue, the statement added.

Tatar also congratulated Erdogan and the Turkish people on the Night of Raghaib.

Noting that the close and fruitful relations with Turkey will continue, Tatar conveyed his thanks to Erdogan on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots.

Earlier this month, Turkey’s vice president said Turkey was sending an additional 40,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine to the TRNC.

Speaking at a deal signing ceremony in the capital Lefkosa, Fuat Oktay said Turkey had already delivered 40,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to the TRNC and provided medical supplies and food aid worth 15.5 million Turkish liras ($2.2 million).

On Wednesday, Tatar said that all eyes have turned to an informal 5+1 meeting led by the UN on the Cyprus issue, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks with the participation of guarantor countries.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

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 TRNC was founded in 1983.

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