Turkey and Russia may conclude a deal on Crimea and Northern Cyprus

Turkey and Russia may conclude a deal on Crimea provided that Moscow recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as an independent state.

Hasan Unal, a professor at the Turkish University of Maltepe (Istanbul), said in an interview with lenta.ru publication that Russia could lead the movement to recognise the republic. He noted that the united Cyprus could become a NATO member, which comes contrary to Russia's interests. 

In return, Turkish airlines would be able to resume direct flights to Crimea, whereas the Turkish authorities would abandon the rhetoric about Crimea being part of Ukraine. The professor  acknowledged that such a scenario may look unrealistic due to existing views that both parties share  regarding Crimea and Cyprus. 

Politicians use rhetoric to subsequently take a stronger position in the event of negotiations, he said.

At the same time, there is no need for Turkey to recognize Crimea as Russian territory, the Turkish professor said. 

"Crimea is already a part of Russia, and Russia will not necessarily ask Turkey to recognize this," he explained. 

Unal added that Russia does not need to recognize the TRNC immediately either - it would be enough for Russia not to put pressure on other countries that would be willing to recognize the TRNC and start direct trade with Northern Cyprus.

Crimea became part of Russia in March 2014 as a result of the referendum. Turkey, like all Western countries, did not recognize the accession, even though many politicians and other public figures inside Turkey call on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to recognize Crimea as Russia. Nevertheless, Turkey's official position continues to coincide with that of NATO allies. In addition, the Turkish authorities have repeatedly accused Russia of oppressing and discriminating the Crimean Tatars.

Cyprus was divided into northern and southern territories after the conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in 1974. As a result of the military coup, the Greek junta came to power on the island nation. However, Turkey took advantage of international law and invaded Cyprus, having occupied the northern part of the island. In 1975, the foundation and independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed.

Kremlin responds to Turkey's idea

Russian regions, including Crimea, will never be the subject for any deals, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the idea for Turkey to ​​recognise Crimea provided that Russia recognises Northern Cyprus in return. 

“Of course, Russian regions can never be and will not be the subject of any deals, this is out of the question,” he said, adding that the above-mentioned Turkish professor could hardly translate an official point of view of Ankara.