NEWS

Erdogan plans visit to north Nicosia

TAGS: Turkey, Cyprus

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will visit Turkish Cypriots in north Nicosia on July 9, marking his first trip overseas following his victory in a watershed election.

Erdogan, who will hop on a plane immediately after his inauguration ceremony, is expected to arrive at Mia Milia (Haspolat) in northern Nicosia where he will officiate over the grand opening of Hala Sultan Mosque, according to DHA news agency.

The mosque is located on the main road outside north Nicosia, and it is said to hold inside up to six thousand believers at any given time.

The mosque is in the same area where the Nicosia Bi-communal Wastewater Treatment Plant also operates, giving the suburb an industrial outlook.

One week ago, Erdogan came through in his biggest electoral challenge in more than a decade, with Turkish voters giving him sweeping, executive powers for another five years.

Nicosia was unmoved by the election results, with Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides stressing that the Republic of Cyprus did not expect big changes in peace talks to reunite the divided island.

But Christodoulides also expressed the hope that Turkey would take some steps to pave the way for new negotiation talks on the Cyprus problem.

No country recognises the north part of Cyprus as a state except Turkey, with Greek Cypriots carefully monitoring Erdogan’s moves as his re-election was boosted by nationalist allies winning seats in parliament, who are known to take a tough stance on the Cyprus problem.

Erdogan needed the support to double down on a new executive presidency following a referendum last year, after an unsuccessful coup in 2016.

The country remains in a state of emergency with leaders around the world expressing concern over the future of democracy in Turkey. [Kathimerini Cyprus] 

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