New pro­to­col to ben­e­fit TCs

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

TURKEY could pro­vide “pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion” in favour of Turk­ish Cypri­ots, Turk­ish Deputy Prime Min­is­ter in charge of Cyprus af­fairs Re­cep Ak­dağ said on Thurs­day.

He made the com­ments dur­ing a meet­ing at the Çankaya palace in Ankara with TRNC Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ser­dar Denk­taş, as part of ne­go­ti­a­tions for a new three­year “eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion pro­to­col” to be signed between the two coun­tries, which will start in 2019.

“We do not dis­tin­guish between people in Cyprus and people in our coun­try,” Mr Ak­dağ said.

“We could even pro­vide pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion for Turk­ish Cypri­ots, who have been vic­timised in the past.”

Mr Ak­dağ, who had been in the TRNC just a day be­fore, said that the “whole world” and the “Greek Cypriot ad­min­is­tra­tion in par­tic­u­lar” needed to note the im­por­tance of the TRNC to Turkey.

“It is a separate state yet our po­si­tion re­mains the same when it comes to pro­tect­ing [Turk­ish Cypri­ots’] rights and laws, just as we do for some 81 mil­lion [Turk­ish] people,” he added.

Mr Ak­dağ said Turkey was work­ing on poli­cies to raise av­er­age an­nual earn­ings in North Cyprus to the equiv­a­lent of $25,000 and would con­tinue to make ma­jor in­vest­ments in the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture.

“Wa­ter, ir­ri­ga­tion and roads . . . And now we have a hospi­tal project,” he said. “We are plan­ning to build city hos­pi­tals like we have in Turkey. We will con­tinue to stand by our Turk­ish Cypriot broth­ers and sis­ters.”

Mr Denk­taş said: “Turkey, as al­ways, will be stand­ing next to us in a se­ries of is­sues rang­ing from health to ed­u­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial is­sues to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment [and] open­ing us up to the world via Turkey. We are con­fi­dent about this.”

Dur­ing his visit to the TRNC on Wed­nes­day, Mr Ak­dağ was re­ceived by Prime Min­is­ter Tu­fan Erhür­man.

Mean­while three other min­is­ters, Pub­lic Works and Trans­port Min­is­ter Tolga Atakan, Agri­cul­ture and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Erkut Şa­hali and Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Zeki Çeler, also held a se­ries of con­tacts this week in Ankara.

On Thurs­day Mr Atakan met his Turk­ish coun­ter­part, Ah­met Arslan, who pledged con­tin­u­ing sup­port for TRNC in­fras­truc­tural projects in­clud­ing roads and the “e-state”.

While Mr Şa­hali met Mr Ak­dağ and Turk­ish agri­cul­ture coun­ter­part Ah­met Eşref Fakıbaba, the Turk­ish deputy prime min­is­ter also re­ceived Mr Çeler at Çankaya. Mr Ak­dağ said re­search was cur­rently tak­ing place into eco­nomic links between the coun­tries and Mr Çeler stressed the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing both eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion.

Re­cep Ak­dağ and Ser­dar Denk­taş

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