The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has become a non-member observer state to the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced on Friday.
Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter that everything was developing “step by “step,” referring to Ankara’s efforts for the international recognization of the Turkish community in Northern Cyprus.
The foreign minister reiterated that Türkiye stands by the TRNC.
TRNC President Ersin Tatar on the same day described the country becoming an observer member as a “positive development.”
In a written statement, Tatar thanked Turkish diplomacy for paving the way for this development and said that the TRNC would continue its struggle.
“During these days as we are to celebrate the 39th anniversary of our republic, we will continue our honorable struggle by taking strength from this positive development that carries our status further.”
This will be the first time the TRNC is being represented in an international organization with its constitutional name.
The TRNC is also an observer member in the Economic Cooperation Organization and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well as the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TÜRKSOY). The country is represented in 18 countries with 25 representations including in Germany, the United States and Pakistan.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his speech at the United Nations in September called on the international community to "recognize the TRNC."
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N. Annan Plan to end the longstanding dispute.
Today, the Turkish side supports a solution based on the equal sovereignty of the two states on the island. On the other hand, the Greek side wants a federal solution based on the hegemony of the Greeks.