Ankara has urged members of the Turkish Council to support the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to be given observer status in the association.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Secretary-General Baghdad Amreyev of the Turkic Council in Istanbul; he was elected to the post at the 6th Turkic Council Summit held in Kyrgyzstan last September.
During their meeting, Erdoğan highlighted the unity and solidarity of the Turkic world as one of their priorities, noting his expectation for support in giving observer status to the TRNC.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 by a 180-kilometer (120 mile) buffer zone patrolled by the U.N., and crossings apart from diplomatic purposes were rare. The TRNC, established in 1983, is only recognized by Turkey and faces a longstanding embargo in commerce, transportation and culture.
Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot Administration enjoys recognition by the international community as the Republic of Cyprus established in 1960, which is a member of the EU.
Also voicing his support for the Turkic Council's efforts to gain observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Erdoğan said he closely follows the preparations for the council's seventh annual summit to be hosted in October by Azerbaijan.
"With this summit, we hope to see Uzbekistan as a council member as well. Reforming the council stays on the top of council's agenda as we share Mr. [Nursultan] Nazarbayev's vision on the matter. We think it is more appropriate to assess options aimed at increasing the efficiency of the council through improving coordination and synergy. In this regard, we want the Turkic Council to remain in Istanbul and its current structure to be preserved." he said.
The president also stated that Turkey is in favor of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TURKPA) continuing its activities as an independent international organization, adding that it is important to keep the International Organization of Turkic Culture's (TURKSOY) special status and member structure with its headquarters in Ankara.
The Turkic Council was established in 2009 with the Nakhichevan Agreement with the aim of building intergovernmental ties among member states - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. The organization has various institutions in different fields including the TURKSOY established in 1993, TURKPA established in 2008, the International Turkic Academy established in 2010, the Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation whose founding document was signed in 2012, and the Turkic Business Council whose founding document was signed in 2011.
Stressing that he proposed to name former president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, known as "the wise man" of the Turkic world, as the honorary president of the Turkic Council, Erdoğan said, "I am glad to learn that all member countries welcomed our proposal."
Nazarbayev, 78, who ruled Kazakhstan since its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, resigned in March and became the first Central Asian leader of the post-Soviet era to willingly leave office.