Turkey will help its sister state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), provide more online government services to its citizens with a new data center, Vice President Fuat Oktay told the visiting Turkish Cypriot prime minister Wednesday.
An infusion of funds from Turkey to the TRNC will help pay salaries and cover the cost of the e-state data center, Oktay told a joint news conference alongside Ersan Saner, the TRNC's new prime minister, in his first visit abroad since taking the post earlier this month.
"There is good news about the salary of public employees to comfort the government and the Turkish Cypriots. We'll be transferring TL 800 million ($105 million) in cash," said Oktay, adding that this sum also covers the construction of a new data center.
Oktay also thanked Saner for his visit following the formation of the government on Dec. 9 and wished the new government success.
Oktay noted that the COVID-19 outbreak induced serious problems worldwide, including in the TRNC, but added, "Some of the areas where Cyprus is most competitive are education and tourism, so we want to implement work related to the opening of the airport as soon as possible within seven or eight months."
Saner said at the news conference, "Without Turkey's support, it is impossible for the TRNC to gain significant ground on international platforms or infrastructure and similar work in the country."
"So far, the guarantee that we will walk with you on the same path with faith and determination has made us very happy," he added.
Saner also thanked Turkey for its faith and resolute support of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Ersin Tatar, who served as TRNC prime minister before Saner's selection, was elected the country's president in October, leaving the premiership empty and triggering the need for a newly elected government.
The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece.
Turkey's military intervention stopped the persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultranationalist Greek Cypriots that spanned years.
The TRNC was established in 1983 on the northern tier of the island and is only recognized by Turkey. The country has faced an ongoing embargo on commerce, transportation and culture ever since.
Over the decades, there have been several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all amounting to nothing. The latest attempt held with the participation of each of the island's guarantor countries came to an end with no signs of progress in Switzerland in 2017.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the TRNC, is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the region. Ankara has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has a right to the region's resources.