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Turkish Cyprus becomes strategic center in region: PM

LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has become a strategic center in the Eastern Mediterranean region after 45 years, the nation's prime minister said on Monday.

"The TRNC is now in an extremely important status in the Eastern Mediterranean for Turkey’s tranquility, security and peace," said Ersin Tatar. "Therefore, it is our duty to strengthen the TRNC and increase its prosperity."

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA)'s 62nd office abroad.

Stressing the importance that TIKA will operate in Lefkosa, Tatar said the state-run aid agency will add value to his country with its experience and knowledge.

Tatar pointed out that TIKA will protect and develop the heritage of the Turkish Cypriots through cultural studies.

Speaking at the same event, Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said TIKA has gained international prestige with its strong corporate structure, achievements and original projects.

"TIKA is an institution which transforms humanitarian and conscientious judgments coming from the national and spiritual values of the Turkish nation into concrete actions and projects," said added.

The agency, Ersoy said, will be more active in the TRNC thanks to the opening of the office Lefkosa.

The opening ceremony is attended by Kudret Ozersay, the TRNC’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Unal Ustel, the TRNC’s Environment and Culture Minister, Serdar Cam, Turkey’s Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister, Ali Murat Basceri, Turkey’s Ambassador to the TRNC and several politicians.

Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels.

Ankara has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.

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