Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), in Turkish Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti, is a self-proclaimed state occupying the northern third of the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is the only state which recognises the TRNC; all other governments and the United Nations recognise the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island of Cyprus.
The TRNC has a population of about 190,000 and an area of 3,355 square kilometres. Following the 1974 coup by Greek Cypriot elements seeking the unification of Cyprus with Greece in contradiction to the agreements signed between Greece, Turkey and United Kingdom, and the subsequent invasion by Turkey as a result of mass murders and ethinc clensing of the Turks by the Greek elements, population exchanges and expulsions caused both parts of Cyprus to become largely mono-ethnic. As a consequence, the Northern Cypriot population is almost entirely Turkish-Cypriot with small remnant populations of Greeks and Maronites. The TRNC includes the northern part of the city of Nicosia (in Turkish Lefkoşa), which serves as the TRNC's capital.
The separate state of northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name "Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus". The name was changed to its present form on 15 November 1983. At the New Delhi Non-Aligned Conference Northern Cyprus redeclared her secession from Cyprus to reinforce their earlier declaration of independence in 1975. The area of the TRNC corresponds to the area occupied during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Turkish invasion was a response to the coup attempt by Greek Cypriots attempting to bring about enosis (union) with Greece.
The Republic of Cyprus has consistently refused to recognise the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus or the 1975 declaration of independence in any way, and this refusal has been supported by all countries except Turkey. In retaliation, the TRNC refers to the Republic of Cyprus as the "Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus".
The 1975 declaration of independence was condemned by the United Nations Security Council's Resolutions 541 and 550, which declared it legally invalid, called for Turkey's immediate withdrawal and urged all member states not to recognise it. The TRNC maintains informal relations with some Middle-Eastern countries, particularly Lebanon.
The TRNC is a democracy, with a president elected for a five-year term. President Rauf Denktaş was last elected in April 2000. The TRNC's legislature is the House of Representatives (Temsilciler Meclisi), which has 50 members elected by proportional representation from five electoral districts. In the elections of December 14, 2003, the opposition Republican Turkish Party overtook the ruling Party of National Unity (Ulusal Birlik Partisi) to become the largest parliamentary party. The legislature is now evenly divided between opposition and government parties, with the two sides holding 25 seats each.
The TRNC is heavily dependent on Turkish military and economic support. It uses the Turkish Lira as its currency. All TRNC exports and imports are via Turkey, as are its communication links. International telephone calls are routed via a Turkish dialling code, +90 392, on the Internet TRNC is under the Turkish second-level domain .nc.tr, and mail must be addressed to 'Mersin 10, TURKEY' as the Universal Postal Union refuses to recognise the TRNC as a separate entity (mail sent to 'CYPRUS' will be returned to sender as 'undeliverable').
Ercan airport is not recognized as a port of entry, and flights must stop over in Turkey first. Anyone who has a TRNC immigration stamp may be refused entry by the Republic of Cyprus or Greece, although after the accession of the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus to the EU such restrictions have been eased following confidence building measures by the Cypriot government. The Republic of Cyprus allows free unrestricted passage across the Green Line from Nicosia into the TRNC, since the TRNC does not require a visa or leave entry stamps for such visits.
During 2002 and 2003 the approach of the Republic of Cyprus's accession to the European Union (on May 1, 2004) produced a political crisis in the TRNC, because its residents realised that they would not have access to the privileges of EU membership, particularly the right to work anywhere in the EU, which would be open to Cypriot citizens. In 2002 there were large demonstrations in the TRNC against the continuation of the division of Cyprus. During 2003, pro-EU parties campaigned vigorously against the government of Rauf Denktaş, standing for election on a platform of replacing him as the republic's chief negotiator and pushing for a settlement that could take the north into the EU as part of a reunited Cyprus. In January 2004, pro-EU leader Mehmet Ali Talat was appointed Prime Minister.
On April 24, 2004 a referendum was held in both parts of Cyprus on the Annan Plan for re-uniting the island before its entry to the EU. Turkish Cypriot voters approved the plan, while Greek Cypriot voters, on the advice of their government, rejected it. (see Cyprus reunification referendum, 2004).
Both the UN and the EU expressed their disappointment at the outcome. Turkish Cypriots, having long been blamed for obstructing the reunification of Cyprus, were praised for supporting the Annan Plan, while Greek Cypriots were criticised for rejecting it. As a result, the EU indicated that it would reward the Turkish Cypriots by relaxing the EU's embargo on the TRNC.
Günter Verheugen, the EU's Enlargement Commissioner, was reported as saying that the EU was considering opening a representative office in the TRNC. EU foreign ministers agreed to give the TRNC 259 million euros (US$307 million) in aid. Verheugen also said that the Greek Cypriot government should not expect a reduction in the number of Turkish troops stationed in Cyprus. Instead Turkey might increase their number beyond the current 30,000, he said.
Rauf Denktaş announced in mid-May 2004 that he would be stepping down as President of the TRNC at the end of his fourth term. He said Talat and Foreign Minister Serdar Denktaş were both suitable candidates to replace him. Elections for the post will take place in 2005.
In June 2004 a meeting of Foreign Ministers of member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference decided that the TRNC would be represented at future OIC meetings under the name of "Turkish Cypriot State", as was envisaged in the Annan plan.