TURKEY

FM Çavuşoğlu to pay 2-day visit to Northern Cyprus

Turkey's top diplomat will start a two-day visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Sunday, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

During his visit, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is set to meet with Turkish Cypriot authorities, as well as the leaders of the political parties to take up the issues on the "common agenda", particularly the recent developments regarding the Cyprus issue and the Eastern Mediterranean, the ministry said in a written statement on Saturday.

Turkey 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.

Since spring this year, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels -- Fatih and most recently Yavuz -- to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) to the resources of the region.

Turkey's first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.

Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships' crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.

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

The decades since then have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

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