Historic agreement between Ankara and the TRNC
Date Added: 05 June 2024

In a landmark event, the governments of the Republic of Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have signed a significant Economic and Financial Cooperation Agreement.

The agreement, signed by TRNC Prime Minister Ünal Üstel and Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz, marks a major milestone in the economic partnership between the two entities.

Following the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Üstel and Vice President Yılmaz held a joint press conference.

Prime Minister Üstel highlighted the importance of the agreement, describing it as perhaps the largest protocol in history, encompassing approximately 16 billion Turkish Liras in project support and grants.

Prime Minister Ünal Üstel met with Türkiye’s Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz in Ankara, where they held a private meeting at the Presidential Complex.

This meeting culminated in the signing of the 2024 Economic and Financial Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.

The agreement includes financial support for new projects and ongoing initiatives in the TRNC, along with substantial credit and grant assistance aimed at strengthening various sectors.

The support and grants amounting to approximately ₺16bn , makes it one of the largest protocols in the history of the two countries.

During the joint press conference following the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Üstel and Vice President Yılmaz outlined the agreement’s scope and significance.

They emphasized the commitment to bolster the economic infrastructure of the TRNC and enhance the cooperation between the two nations.

This historic agreement is expected to provide a robust foundation for numerous projects and reforms, significantly contributing to the TRNC’s development and strengthening the bilateral relations between Türkiye and the TRNC.

Addressing reporters at the press conference, Turkish Vice President Yılmaz emphasized Ankara’s commitment to empowering Turkish Cypriots.

He highlighted the success of the 2023 agreement, which allocated ₺9.5bn, with an 83% expenditure rate—the highest in recent agreements.

Key achievements included the new Ercan Airport, water infrastructure projects, a citrus cold storage facility, and significant support for the small livestock sector.

Yılmaz detailed ongoing projects, such as the completion of the New Girne Military Hospital and revisions to the Güzelyurt Hospital project.

He also noted substantial progress in the construction of the Presidential and Parliament service buildings, the new Nation Garden, and Nation Mosque.

The Turkish VP also mentioned that the process of compensating property claims filed by Greek Cypriots up to 2021 through the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) was nearing completion.

“Improvements have been made to village roads, with 153 kilometers opened to traffic. In education, funds have been allocated to strengthen the technical and technological infrastructure of rural schools and to reinforce schools at risk of collapse in an earthquake. Renovations have started on 13 schools across the island,” he said.

For his part, Prime Minister Üstel expressed his gratitude and said Ankara’s presence offers a sense of security that is invaluable given the geopolitical landscape.

“The bond between the motherland Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriot people, rooted in mutual love, respect, trust, and brotherhood, is unbreakable. This bond is strengthened by our shared history, culture, language, religion, and values,” he added.

Üstel highlighted the progress made since his government took office, stressing their commitment to fostering stability and advancing relations with Türkiye.

He mentioned that every protocol signed has revealed the TRNC’s significant potential in various sectors.

“We are getting closer to our goal of creating a self-sustaining economy. We are increasing our production and transportation capacity and addressing infrastructure deficiencies. In this period of embracing the world, we are preparing to integrate globally,” said Üstel.

Reflecting on past challenges, Üstel pointed out that previous Turkish governments faced difficulties due to the unstable political climate in Cyprus but added that since his administration came to power, they have maintained stable policies, achieving the goals set in each protocol.

He highlighted the completion of long-awaited projects like the Lefke, Karpaz, and Girne Alsancak bypass roads, local government reforms, the new Ercan airport, and significant progress in the delivery of fresh water to agricultural lands.

Üstel also mentioned advancements in e-government and technological infrastructure, substantial developments in agriculture, industry, and education, and the completion of unprecedented numbers of new school projects.

He noted that ongoing support in agriculture, health, and other areas has been successfully implemented due to coordinated efforts between the TRNC and Türkiye.

In his closing remarks, Prime Minister Üstel emphasized the importance of enhancing the quality of life for the TRNC citizens, introducing support packages for youth and women entrepreneurs, and continuing assistance programs for the needy and disabled.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to a two-state solution in foreign policy, aligning with President Ersin Tatar’s vision.

“We are working intensively to improve our relations, especially with Turkish republics, and our relationship with Azerbaijan is advancing rapidly. With Ankara’s great support, the TRNC will rightfully earn its place among the world’s respected states, and our people will achieve a justified victory against all forms of embargoes,” Üstel declared.

Prime Minister Üstel and his delegation are expected to return to the TRNC later this evening.