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Turkish Cypriots sign new economic deal with Ankara

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Faiz Sucuoglu (left) signs the deal with Fuat Oktay (Photo: Yeniduzen)

The breakaway regime in the north has inked a deal for economic and fiscal cooperation with Turkey, the latter pledging to the former some 4.25 billion Turkish lira (€270 million) for this year.

A delegation of senior ‘government’ officials from the north had traveled to Turkey on Wednesday for talks in a bid to finalise the cooperation protocol.

At a news conference on Thursday after the signing of the agreement, Turkey’s Prime Minister  said that for 2022 Ankara will provide the north of the island 4.25 billion Turkish lira, mainly in the form of grants and loans.

Projects to be implemented through this financial assistance include: buildings in the north of Cyprus for the ‘presidency’ and the ‘parliament’, a ‘state hospital’ with 500 beds in Nicosia, works for the provision of potable water in Morphou and the Mesaoria area, wastewater processing, a military hospital in Kyrenia with 100 beds, upkeep and repair works on district roads, and the construction of two mobile electricity plants.

Oktay said that Turkey spares no effort in raising the living standard of Turkish Cypriots “to the level it deserves.”

The visiting Turkish Cypriot delegation was led by the north’s ‘prime minister’ Faiz Sucuoglu, accompanied by three ‘government ministers’ – the ‘ministers’ for finance, transport and tourism.

The deal with Ankara comes amid an economic crisis in the north, as Turkish Cypriots struggle to pay electricity bills that are reportedly 200 per cent higher.

It was not immediately clear what was the status of other reported proposals in the cooperation protocol – namely the freezing of the cost of living allowance (CoLA), the cancellation of 13th salaries and the privatisation of the north’s electricity authority.

In other comments to the media, the Turkish vice president said he and the Turkish Cypriot officials discussed the state of play vis a vis the Cyprus settlement issue.

“The Turkish Cypriot people do not have another 50 years to waste at the negotiating table,” Oktay was quoted as saying.

“There are two equal peoples, two equal sovereign states on the island today. For this reason, the solution presented in Geneva, based on the sovereign equality of the two sides on the island…is the most realistic proposal that fully reflects reality.”

Regarding the development of Varosha, Oktay said Ankara will support the steps taken by the north.

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