Foreign relations of Northern Cyprus

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus is recognised only by Turkey, a country which facilitates many of its contacts with the international community. After declaring independence from the Republic of Cyprus, Northern Cyprus' relations with the rest of the world were further complicated by a series of United Nations resolutions which declared its independence legally invalid. A 2004 UN Referendum on settling the Cyprus dispute was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots. After that, the European Union declared its intentions to assist in reducing the economic isolation of Northern Cyprus and began giving aid to the territory.

Diplomatic representations

At the present time, only Turkey maintains a formal embassy in the TRNC, while the TRNC has an embassy and consulates in Turkey. In various other countries, the TRNC has unofficial representative offices. Turkey represents the TRNC's interests in countries without such offices. In North Nicosia (the Turkish Cypriot administered northern half), both the British High Commissioner to Cyprus and the United States Ambassador to Cyprus have their formal residences, though since these residences had been in use since before 1963, it is not indicative of formal recognition of the TRNC by the United Kingdom or United States. In the same situation are the representative offices maintained by Australia, France, Germany, South Korea and the European Union.

Azerbaijan and Gambia expressed their willingness to eventually formally recognize the TRNC. They so far have not followed through, but their informal contacts have increased. Also, diplomats from other countries have recently officially visited the TRNC Embassy in Ankara to hold meetings with the TRNC Ambassador. The latest nation to state their intention to (positively) change its policy towards TRNC is Paraguay.

The Nakhichivan Autonomous Republic (an exclave of Azerbaijan) had issued a resolution in the mid-1990s recognizing the TRNC’s independence, but Azerbaijan itself has yet refrained to officially support this decision due to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, and recognizes the Republic of Cyprus. Azerbaijan is sympathetic to the TRNC, but the Republic of Cyprus would recognize Nagorno-Karabakh if Azerbaijan officially recognized the TRNC.[1]

Honorary Representatives are also appointed by the TRNC in various other cities to represent the TRNC and to assist the primary TRNC Representative Offices.

Foreign Representations

United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia have representation offices in Northern Nicosia. As well, Northern Cyprus has a number of representations in other countries with various status.

Foreign Minister

The current Foreign Minister is Ms. Emine Çolak.


Republic of Cyprus

London office of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Bedford Square.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mehmet Ali Talat in Washington, DC.,15 April 2009.

The internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus refuses to give any official status to the government of the TRNC, and actively dissuades any other country from doing so. This policy is in line with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the policy of the entire international community which refuses to recognise the TRNC. The government of the Republic of Cyprus regards the TRNC in such terms as "illegitimate entity", "Turkish military occupied territory" and "a puppet state of Turkey". Phraseology such as "pseudo" or "so-called" are used by the Cyprus Government to describe government officials and institutions in the TRNC.

The TRNC President is referred to simply as the "Turkish Cypriot Leader" by the Cyprus Government, the EU and the United Nations. It is however interesting to note that under the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus, the Leader of the Turkish Cypriots is regarded as the Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus with wide veto powers, but this status has not been acknowledged by the government of the Republic of Cyprus since December 1963. Due to this stance, the TRNC refuses any official recognition of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, calling it the "Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus", and referring to its President as the "Greek Cypriot Leader". Turkey backs this position.

After the Republic of Cyprus became a member of the European Union, the southern part of the island became part of the Customs Union of EU. The Northern part of the island is excluded from the Customs Union. In spite of that, the Green Line regulations are intended to ease trade relations between North Cyprus and EU.

Oil exploration in East Mediterranean became a problem between the administrations of the north and the south side since 2000. The EU member Greece supports the south whereas EU-candidate Turkey supports the north.

North Cyprus

Negotiations between both Cypriot communities have been complicated by the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union in 2004. The TRNC views the EU accession as illegal as they had not been consulted (as the 1960 constitution stipulates), and that the Cyprus Government does not represent the Turkish Cypriot populace. Legally, the EU regulations cover the whole island, but in practice, only the southern portion of the island enjoys the benefits of EU membership.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus has used their EU position to veto[2] promised aid packages from the EU to the TRNC, and are using their membership to add pressure on Turkey to end their support for the TRNC. This is being viewed in an increasingly negative way by countries such as Britain and the United States, though Turkey's non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus despite its signing of the customs union between itself and the EU is an additional bone of contention.

Legally, the EU continues to consider Northern Cyprus as EU territory under foreign military occupation and thus indefinitely exempt from EU legislation until a settlement has been reached. The number of seats assigned to Cyprus in the European Parliament (6 seats) is based on the population of the entire island, despite the fact that not many residents of Northern Cyprus participated in the last election. Unlike the 1960 constitution where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots were voting separately their members in the Cypriot Parliament, until the solution of the Cyprus Problem, because of the current status quo, the Turkish Cypriot voters can vote only together with Greek Cypriots for Cypriot Members of the European Parliament. In the last European Parliament elections, 97 Turkish Cypriots voted. There is no support as yet for admitting two Cypriot member states into the EU.

United Nations

In 1983, the United Nations Security Council issued two resolutions calling the TRNC's UDI illegitimate and calling upon other UN member nations not to recognize it. The policy of the UN is to reunify both communities under a federal structure. The TRNC calls the UN action hypocritical, given their recognition of Bangladesh in 1972 after it broke off from Pakistan. The United Nations still maintains a United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) along the Green Line since 1963. The existence of UNFICYP on the island of Cyprus is only due to the consent of the administration of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey and Turkish Cypriot side reject the ignorance of permission of Turkish Cypriot side, and state that the permission and consent of North Cyprus must be taken as well in existence of UNFICYP.[3]

On 22 July 2010, United Nations' International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion on the Republic of Kosovo's Declaration of Independent which found that "international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence".


In 2005, moves were made by TRNC to regulate Turkish migrants. This was in reaction to employment shortages and an increase in crime. This was the first major area of disagreement between TRNC and Turkey, as Turkey wants to preserve the Turkish majority demographic status quo through continued ethnic Turkish migration.

In late 2006, the Turkish military objected to President Talat's decision to remove a footbridge located on the Turkish side of the Ledra Street Barricade. President Talat made it clear that the decision to demolish the footbridge was the sole prerogative of the TRNC Government.

Universal Postal Union

The Universal Postal Union does not recognize TRNC as a separate entity,[4] and as such, all mail addressed to the TRNC will be returned to the sender as 'undeliverable'. TRNC-bound mail has to be routed through Turkey first (mail must be addressed to Mersin 10, Turkey).[5]


The TRNC fully supports Turkey's bid to join the European Union. As part of this bid, Turkey recently signed a protocol extending its customs union to the new EU members, including the Republic of Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognise. Turkey made sure this was not tantamount to recognition with the inclusion of a declaration, stipulating their continued policy of non-recognition of what they describe as the "Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus" until a settlement is reached. This declaration is not accepted by the EU which did not accept this statement as forming part of the acquis and expects Turkey to fully abide to its obligations against the Republic of Cyprus. The TRNC views any move by the EU to force Turkish recognition of the Republic of Cyprus as an effort to cut them off from their base of support. Turkey has pledged not to abandon the TRNC, but the upcoming negotiations with the EU will put this pledge sorely to the test.

In February 2008, Putin, the president of Russia, equated the Northern Cyprus situation with that resulting from a unilateral Kosovo declaration of independence, which he opposes, in order to point of European countries double standards in their desire to recognise Kosovo.[6]

On 18 February 2008, the President of the TRNC congratulated the people of Kosovo on their new-found independence, in direct opposition to the Republic of Cyprus, which rejects Kosovo's declaration of independence,[7] but not Turkey, which was the fifth country to recognise Kosovo.[8] However, presidential spokesman Hasan Ercakica stated that the TRNC was not preparing to officially recognize Kosovo.[9] In contrast, the Republic of Cyprus has rejected Kosovo's declaration of independence and, given the ICJ ruling that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not illegal, stated that Kosovo and Northern Cyprus were not analogous situations.[10] Some analysts have argued that the independence of Kosovo could provide support for the recognition of Northern Cyprus.[11]

On 2 September 2008, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey announced that if Turkey recognized the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia would recognize TRNC as an independent country.[12] Later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected this variant.[13]

On 21.09.2011, Turkey and Northern Cyprus signed the EEZ border agreement in New York.[14][15]

International memberships and representations

In 1994, Northern Cyprus became an observer member of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (Türksoy).[16]

In 2004, Northern Cyprus became an observer member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation under the title "Turkish Cypriot State".[17]

In 2004, the Turkish Cypriot community was awarded "observer status" in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), as part of the Cypriot delegation. Since then, the two Turkish Cypriot representatives of PACE are elected in the Assembly of Northern Cyprus.[18][19]

On 16 October 2012, Northern Cyprus became an observer member of the Economic Cooperation Organization under the title "Turkish Cypriot State".[20]

In 2013, Northern Cyprus Red Crescent Society became an observer member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.[21]

International recognition and relations

Turkey is the only country which recognises Northern Cyprus and has an embassy in North Nicosia. Northern Cyprus has an embassy in Ankara.

In 2005 the President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, said that Gambia was ready to recognize the independence of Northern Cyprus. The Cypriot government protested and Gambia did not recognize the TRNC.[22]

In October 2011, Libya signed cooperation treaties with TRNC government.[23]

In May 2015, the EU Infopoint office that aims to bring the Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU, has been inaugurated in North Nicosia.[24]

Recognition withdrawn

In 1983 Bangladesh and Pakistan withdrew recognition after UNSC Resolution 541 and international pressure.[25][26]

See also


  1. "Europe, the US, Turkey and Azerbaijan recognize the “unrecognized” Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". Retrieved 20 February 2015. C1 control character in |title= at position 53 (help)
  2. "A Mediterranean quagmire". The Economist. 22 April 2010.
  3. "Türkiye: Liderler daha sık görüşmeli". KIBRIS POSTASI. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  4. Great BritainForeign and Commonwealth Office (9 November 2010). Sixth additional protocol to the constitution of the Universal Postal Union, General Regulations of the Universal Postal Union, Declarations made on signature of the Acts, Constitution of the Universal Postal Union, Rules and Procedures of Congresses, Universal Postal Convention with Final Protocol, and Postal Payment Services Agreement: Beijing, 15 September 1999. The Stationery Office. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-10-179702-3.
  5. Vesna Maric (2009). Cyprus. Lonely Planet. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-74104-803-2. to any of these addresses in Northern Cyprus, ensure that you use the suffix 'Mersin 10, Turkey', not 'Northern Cyprus'.
  6. webposter. " - Daily Review of Russian Press Reports on Kosovo". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  7. "Kosovo recognized by Northern Cyprus: "No people can be forced to live under the rule of another"". Tiraspol Times. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  8. "Statement of H.E. Mr. Ali Babacan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Regarding the Recognition of Kosovo by Turkey". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  9. "Ercakica on the recognition of Kosovos independence". Anatolia News Agency. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  10. Sarah Fenwick (8 December 2009). "No Right To Self-Determination for Minorities – Cyprus". Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  11. Fulya Özerkan (25 July 2010). "Verdict on Kosovo will not affect Turkey". Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  12. "Ambassador:Russia shall recognise the TRNC right after Turkey recognizes South Ossetia". Famagusta Gazette. 2 September 2008.
  13. "Russia Rejects Trade-Off With Turkey On Recognition Of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Northern Cyprus". 7 October 2009.
  14. Official Gazette 12 July 2012
  15. Official Gazette EEZ Border (Page 4)
  18. James Ker-Lindsay (UN SG's Former Special Representative for Cyprus) The Foreign Policy of Counter Secession: Preventing the Recognition of Contested States, p.149
  19. Today's Zaman 2005-2007: CTP Özdil Nami; UBP Huseyin Ozgurgun
  20. "Erdoğan, Ahmadinejad discuss Syria during private meeting - POLITICS". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  21. Abdulkadir Varoglu/Mehmet Cakar/Nejat Basim: An unusual bi-national military cooperation: The Case of Turkish-Gambian relations, in: Joseph Soeters/Philippe Manigart (eds.): Military Cooperation in Multinational Peace Operations: Managing cultural diversity and crisis response, London/New York 2008, pp. 117-128 (here: p. 124).
  23. Cyprus-Mail
  24. "Northern Cyprus's Twin Brother – Taiwan « Humanities II – World History". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  25. "Is Now the Time for a Cyprus Deal?". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 20 February 2015.

External links

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