Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev on Thursday made fresh statements in support of the north’s potential accession to the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS), going further than he had previously to support the north becoming a full member.

He said his country is making “diplomatic efforts” for the north to become an observer member of the OTS, with the north’s observer status having been agreed upon by the OTS’ leaders’ summit in 2022, but with parliamentary ratification from the five member states still pending.

Additionally, he said, “we support the TRNC becoming a full member of the OTS. This is very natural, because historically, the TRNC is a part of the Turkic world. The Turks living there are our brothers.”

His words were hailed by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who said on Friday that Aliyev had “expressed the fact that the Turkic state in the Eastern Mediterranean, the TRNC, is an integral part of the Turkic world in every way.”

“The brotherhood of Azerbaijan and the TRNC will live forever as members of the same nation. Our brotherhood from Nicosia to Baku will be eternal,” he added.

The north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel also expressed his “endless gratitude to Ilham Aliyev on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people” for his remarks.

The strong ties between Azerbaijan and the TRNC are getting stronger day by day with the vision of ‘three states, one nation’,” he added.

He also said he hopes the north will achieve full membership of the OTS “in the not-too-distant future”.

Aliyev has made a series of statements in recent months and years which have indicated a Cyprus problem stance leaning towards recognition of the north.

He had insisted in February that “the president of the TRNC will attend” an OTS summit which is due to take place in the Azerbaijani town of Shusha next month.

The president of the TRNC will attend the summit to be held in Shusha upon my invitation. This will accelerate the unity of the Turkic people,” he said.

In October last year, Aliyev had again referred to Tatar as the “President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” following a bilateral meeting during the visit of a 200-strong Turkish Cypriot delegation to Azerbaijan.

Aliyev’s and Azerbaijan’s stance on Cyprus has not escaped the attention of the Republic, with House President Annita Demetriou promising in April to “send a message” to Azerbaijan over the creation of an ‘inter-parliamentary’ group with the north’s parliament.

She said she would write a letter to her Azerbaijani counterpart, Sahiba Gafarova, to condemn the group’s creation, and also raised the matter during a meeting with other European Union parliament speakers the following week in Spain.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time Azerbaijan has made such an effort. We must once again do everything in our power to stop it. It is unacceptable and reprehensible,” she said.