The north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel and Turkey’s Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz on Wednesday signed the latest annual financial protocol covering the coming year’s financial provisions from Turkey to the north, with this year’s deal worth 16 billion TL (€452 million).

While the finer details of the protocol are yet to be made public, it typically contains plans for how the money will be allocated, and targets set for the north’s ‘government’ by Turkey in various fields for the year ahead.

Speaking after the protocol’s signing, Ustel described it as “the largest protocol in history” and described the relationship between the north and Turkey as “vital”.

“In addition to the support for projects provided to the TRNC, the sense of trust which Turkey provides to the Turkish Cypriot people can never be evaluated with numbers, considering our geography,” he said.

He thanked Turkey for signing the protocol, and stressed once again Turkey’s importance to the north, “because we see with sadness the situation of those who do not have a motherland, those who do not have a protector or a guarantor in our region.”

On the protocol itself, he said the north is now “getting closer to our goal of creating an economy which stands on its own two feet”.

“We are increasing our production, and we are increasing our transportation capacity. We are eliminating the deficiencies of our infrastructure in all areas. In this period when we are taking important steps to embrace the world, we are becoming ready for the world,” he said.

This year’s protocol will be the third implemented under Ustel’s premiership, and he said on Wednesday that his ‘government’ has “achieved the targets set in every protocol” thus far.

“We completed the ring road projects in Lefka and in Karpasia and in Kyrenia and Karavas, which had been waiting for years. We implemented local government reform, which had not been done for years. We opened the new Ercan [Tymbou] airport, which had not been opened for years,” he said.

He also made reference to the extension of water pipes bringing water into the north from Turkey, which now provide irrigation to farmland on the Mesaoria plain, as well as the construction of an “unprecedented amount” of schools.

Looking to the future, he said, Turkey’s “economic recovery has begun”, and that “tomorrow will be much better than today”.

He promised that next year’s Turkish Cypriot leadership elections, ‘parliamentary’ elections which can be held no later than February 2027, and his party the UBP’s party conference which is due to take place this autumn will “not disrupt the stability” of the north’s economy and politics, and that all the targets set in this year’s protocol will be met.

“We will definitely complete the unfinished hospital projects. We will open the Morphou hospital, we will complete the health centres in Tavros, Varosha, and Lapithos. We will supply new state laboratory medical services. We will complete the unfinished road projects,” he said.

He also said his ‘government’ will now “initiate the social housing projects we promised”, and undertake “many more serious projects in many areas”.

Additionally, he said his ‘government’ is aligned with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s support for a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem.

“We stand behind this common vision,” he said, adding that his ‘government’ is “working intensively for our state to embrace the world, and especially to improve our relations with Turkic republics”.

“Our relations, especially with Azerbaijan, are developing at a speed far beyond our expectations. With the great support of Turkey, I believe that the TRNC will definitely take the place it deserves among the respected states of the world,” he said.

Cevdet Yilmaz said less after the meeting, saying the north is “known for its green economy”, that the protocol aims to “reduce bureaucracy”, and that “we will continue to work for the TRNC to build a strong future”.