Northern Cyprus, which Erdogan visited on Monday, is recognized as an independent country only by Turkey, while Azerbaijan, which he will visit on Tuesday, is a traditional ally of Ankara.
Turkish political analyst, Javad Gok, reviewed for “Sky News Arabia” what lies behind this Turkish tradition towards Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan in particular, saying:
Usually, every Turkish president starts his term by visiting Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan, as these are the two closest countries to Turkey in terms of political alliances, and there is a consistent government strategy to always stick to their sides. It was customary to discuss cooperation issues with them and to contribute to certain ongoing projects with Turkish aid, particularly in northern Cyprus, which is organically linked to Ankara. This visit this time sends messages to Greece, Cyprus and Armenia, that Ankara will not change its approach to provide full support to Baku and Nicosia.
Gök refers to the dispute that has existed since the 1970s between Turkey on the one hand, and Greece and the part it supports in southern Cyprus on the other, on the legitimacy of the northern part of Cyprus supported by the Turkey.
He also discusses the dispute between Turkey and Armenia over Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan in its dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
A matter of national security
Former Egyptian diplomat Ambassador Bilal Al-Masry explained to ‘Sky News Arabia’ the reasons behind Erdogan’s visit to these two destinations, from his perspective, saying:
- It is only natural that Northern Cyprus should be the first foreign destination of the Turkish President, given its primacy in the matrix of Turkish national security priorities.
The visit is also a direct message to several countries regarding the importance of Northern Cyprus for Turkey.
- One of the reasons for this importance is that Northern Cyprus and the so-called Aegean Islands are considered two issues related to the Turkish maritime domain and security, and even land, and therefore Turkish Cypriots call Turkey the motherland.
Turkey’s role in both Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan
In 1974, Turkey intervened militarily in Cyprus after a coup in the island and its attempt to annex it to Greece, and Ankara imposed its control over 37% of the area of Cyprus. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared, which was recognized only by Ankara, and this has become one of the most complex disputes with Greece, and Ankara claims that Turkish Cypriots are “part integral part of the Turkish world”. Negotiations are underway on the reunification of Cyprus between the Greek and Turkish components, mediated by the United Nations, but they have stalled since 2017. Azerbaijan and Armenia are fighting over the border region of Nagorno-Karabakh, because Baku considers it part of its territory, while Yerevan supports it on the pretext that it has an Armenian majority. Turkey supports Azerbaijan in the conflict, especially because of its close relations with Baku in the field of gas imports, and there are historical conflicts between Turkey and Armenia that date back to the era of the Empire. Ottoman.
Read the Latest World News Today on The Eastern Herald.