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Relations with Turkey

As was the case with Greek Cypriots and their mainland, relations between the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey could be characterized as close and cooperative, although many observers detected strains barely beneath the surface. Turkey usually supported Turkish Cypriot policies in their broadest sense, although tactical differences often occurred. On several key occasions in the UN settlement process, Ankara pressed the Turkish Cypriot government to be more forthcoming. From 1975 until the declaration of the "TRNC" in 1983, for example, it was reported on numerous occasions that Turkey had persuaded Denktas to delay his unilateral declaration of independence.

The main institutional vehicle for Turkish-Turkish Cypriot cooperation was the Coordination Committee (Koordinasyon Komitesi) formed in the 1960s to administer the extensive economic relationship between the two. The participants in these coordination activities, which became more ad hoc as Turkish Cypriot bureaucratic competence grew, were representatives of the prime minister's office in Turkey and a collection of key decision makers from the Turkish Cypriot executive branch. From 1974 to 1983 coordination was close, including Turkish participation in Turkish Cypriot cabinet meetings. After the establishment of the "TRNC," such contact was replaced with more formal state-to-state relations. Turkey demonstrated in various ways its recognition of the separateness of the Turkish Cypriot political entity, although opposition parties and many observers believed that the Turkish Embassy in the north was engaged in activities beyond the normal purview of a foreign mission.

The economic dimension of bilateral relations also showed its strains. After 1974, the Turkish contribution to the Turkish Cypriot budget was estimated at 80 percent, but by 1990 that subsidy was reported to be in the 30 to 40 percent range. The opposition press in Turkey occasionally complained that aid and assistance to northern Cyprus was an economic burden on Turkey, whose economic performance was uneven in the 1980s. For their part, Turkish Cypriots complained of inadequate aid, the failure as of late 1990 to establish a customs union, and the importation of Turkey's economic problems, most notably rampant inflation in the late 1970s and again in the late 1980s. Relations were also strained by social differences between mainland settlers and the higher levels of education and more urban and secular lifestyles of most Turkish Cypriots.

Data as of January 1991