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Türkiye’s president meets Turkish Cypriot counterpart in Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hosted Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar for talks in Istanbul.

TRNC’s Prime Minister Unal Ustel also attended the closed-door meeting at the Vahdettin Mansion on Saturday, according to Türkiye’s Communications Directorate.

No further details were released about the meeting, which comes as Türkiye deals with the aftermath of the Feburary 6 earthquakes that have claimed more than 44,210 lives in the country’s southern regions.

TRNC was among the first countries to send rescue teams and relief supplies after the devastating quakes.

READ MORE: Türkiye calls on UN, international community to recognise Northern Cyprus 

Cyprus dispute

Prior to the earthquake, Türkiye urged the UN Security Council and the international community to recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the equal international status of Turkish Cypriots.

The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN 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 of the island led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 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 UK.

The Greek Cypriot administration was admitted to the EU in 2004, the same year when Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

READ MORE: How Türkiye’s Cyprus operation brought peace 48 years ago

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