Pakistan hints at recognition of Northern Cyprus
A tweet published on Saturday by Pakistan’s Embassy in Turkey has sparked hopes over the prospect of Islamabad officially recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The post, shared via the embassy’s official Twitter account, detailed the schedule of a three-day visit by the consular team to “Northern Cyprus” that will take place between July 11– 13.
The tweet is seen as a significant step towards Islamabad recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as speculations mount over whether an official recognition can be expected in the future.
A Greek report published following Azerbaijan’s victory in Karabakh mentioned five countries that are said to be planning to recognize Northern Cyprus, including Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Libya, Bangladesh and Gambia.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the European Union in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.
Strengthening Turkey-Pakistan ties
Pakistan’s hint comes amid strengthening ties with Turkey, which could be an important driver behind the possible recognition of the TRNC.
Turkey has become increasingly active in recent years in attracting international attention to the recognition of the TRNC.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay arrived in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for a working visit on July 7.
According to diplomatic sources, he will hold official talks, examine the ongoing North Lefkosa Ring Road in Lefkosa, and restoration works in Bilal Agha Mosque, and meet citizens in Yenierenkoy and Bafra villages besides other engagements.
Oktay met with Prime Minister Ersan Saner upon his arrival to Turkish Cyprus. He is also expected to meet with Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar.
In a statement issued by the Presidential Palace (Aiwan-e-Sadr) Monday evening, Pakistani president Arif Alvi underlined the need for increased cooperation with Turkey in various fields for the mutual benefits of the two ”brotherly” countries.
“Both brotherly countries enjoyed exemplary cooperation which needed to be further cemented in the areas of trade and defense,” Alvi said during his meeting with the visiting commander of the Turkish Land Forces, Gen. Ümit Dündar.
Dündar was then on an official visit to Pakistan.
Expressing satisfaction over the existing level of bilateral relations, the president said the agreement on military training cooperation between the two countries will further deepen military cooperation.
He also praised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his contribution to the economic prosperity of his country and promoting unity among Muslim communities across the world.
Alvi also appreciated Ankara for its support for Islamabad in several regional and international matters, particularly on Kashmir and the Financial Action Task Force. He lauded Dündar’s efforts to strengthen ties between the forces and congratulated him on receiving the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence) military award.
Dündar, for his part, said Pakistan and Turkey are inseparable due to their long history of cooperation based on shared faith, values and historical ties.
He noted that the Turkish people regard Pakistanis as brothers and stressed the importance of increasing collaboration in all areas, particularly in defense.
Greece’s deepening ties with India
Another factor that could be contributing to Pakistan’s possible recognition of the TRNC is Greece’s deepening ties with Pakistan’s regional rivals India, and thus reciprocal signal towards Greece’s closest allies, the republic of Northern Cyprus.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar two weeks ago expressed a shared desire to further deepen bilateral relations between Greece and India, in joint statements after their meeting in Athens.
“It has been 18 years since the last visit by an Indian foreign minister to Athens. This does not at all reflect the real level of our partnership relationship,” Dendias said, expressing hope that this will mark the start of a commitment to build a strong partnership between the two countries. He noted that this relationship, which Greece hopes will become a strategic relationship, is based on shared values and principles, such as respect for international law, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and a peaceful resolution of differences.
“We believe that these principles must govern relations between countries and especially between neighbouring countries,” he added.
Jaishankar, in a similar vein, noted that relations between the two countries should become “more ambitious” and he expressed India’s desire for a more substantial and multi-faceted relationship with Greece, saying he looked forward to Dendias’ visit to Delhi. He also noted that relations between Greece and India were based on shared convictions and common values and a similar way of viewing the world.
Earlier, the two ministers had concluded their meeting with the signature of an agreement by which Greece joined the International Solar Alliance, an Indian initiative to promote solar energy that more than 120 countries have joined.
During their meeting at the foreign ministry, Dendias briefed the Indian external affairs minister on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly the Cyprus problem, and thanked him for India’s special and constructive role over the years. He said that Greece, as a major force in shipping, is especially concerned with freedom of navigation and respect for the law of the sea. In this context, he welcomed the statement by the Quad, in which India participates with the United States, Japan and Australia, referring to these principles.
Dendias then referred to the “similar opportunities and challenges” facing the two countries, which have both signed agreements to delineate their exclusive economic zones with neighbouring countries and, in the cases where this was not possible, have referred these differences to the international court at The Hague. He also emphasised the challenges both countries face from neighbouring countries that refuse to settle bilateral issues on the basis of international law and “threaten the use of force against neighbours, interfering in their domestic affairs”.
He emphasised that the resolution of differences on the basis of international law was the only way and this must be understood by countries that refuse to accept this.
Dendias said his meeting with Jaishankar had examined the prospects of developing bilateral cooperation in trade, as well as energy and renewable energy sources, in line with the position of the Mitsotakis government for investment in green energy.
They also discussed cooperation within various other organisations in which India is a member, including the UN Security Council where India is a non-permanent member in 2021-2022 and Greece is a candidate member for 2025-2026. There was extensive discussion regarding India’s relations with the EU, as well as other countries with which it has very friendly relations, such as United Arab Emirates.
Jaishankar emphasised the need to respect international law and thanked Greece for its solidarity during the second wave of the pandemic in India, while noting that his visit was an opportunity to convey a message of friendship on the bicentennial since the modern Greek state was established.
He said the meeting had examined ways to improve bilateral relations in depth, with a discussion on trade, investments, exchanges of various kinds, tourism, film, and others. The focus going forward will be to ensure the implementation of the various agreements that are signed for the expansion of cooperation between the two sides, he added.