"If Greek Cypriots vote 'no' and Turkish Cypriots vote 'yes', I shall seek recognition for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said in remarks published by the daily Hurriyet.

  

The TRNC was set up in 1983, nine years after Cyprus was divided by a Greek Cypriot nationalist coup and an invasion of Turkish troops, but is still recognised only by Turkey.

 

Blessing

  

Turkey has, however, given its blessing to a plan by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to reunify the island before 1 May, when it is due to join the European Union.

 

"I shall proudly travel the planet advocating recognition of the TRNC"

Abdullah Gul,
foreign minister, Turkey

If either community rejects the plan in separate and simultaneous referenda to be held on 24 April, only the Greek Cypriot south will be admitted to the EU.

  

The latest opinion polls suggest that the Greek Cypriots will vote against Annan's proposals while the Turkish Cypriots will accept them.

  

In that event, Gul said: "I shall proudly travel the planet advocating recognition of the TRNC."