Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay will visit the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) this week for the 48th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the Mediterranean island.
Turkish Cypriot press reports two weeks ago said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would attend the celebrations. His plans were cancelled due to a visit to Iran, the Kıbrıs Postası newspaper reported on July 8.
Cyprus has been divided since a July 20,1974 Turkish military intervention in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the Mediterranean island with Greece.
Turkey justified the invasion by citing its rights to protect Turkish Cypriots. But the island has remained divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, and the TRNC, which is only recognised as a state by Turkey. The Greek Cypriot-governed Republic of Cyprus controls the southern two-thirds of the island, and the TRNC, where Turkey still keeps about 30,000 troops, the northern third.
Oktay’s visit will start late on Tuesday, Kıbrıs Postası said. The details of his programme have not been revealed yet, it said.
Some social media pundits and journalists had suggested that Erdoğan may use his planned visit to Cyprus to announce the annexing by Turkey of the TRNC.
Numerous diplomatic efforts to reunify Cyprus under a federal model, supported by the United Nations, have failed and Turkey and the TRNC government are now calling for a two-state solution.
Cypriot leaders and representatives of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom – the three guarantor powers of the island – had held informal talks in Geneva in April last year to seek common ground for the re-opening of formal negotiations on possible reunification.
No agreement was reached after the Turkish Cypriot side, backed by Turkey, called for the two-state solution. The Greek Cypriot side and Greece insist on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, citing U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.