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Clues to Erdogan's next move?

Turkey's prime minister, expected to win another term, says he has already made travel plans for his next foreign trip.
Last modified: 10 Jun 2011 14:01
Turkish-Cypriot soldiers on parade. Could Cyprus be higher on Erdogan's agenda in a third term? [EPA]

If Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) wins a landmark third term in office, all eyes will be on the Turkish prime minister's next step.

The first country he chooses to visit as prime minister will be regarded as highly symbolic.

In a question and answer session with media representatives live on CNN Turk, Erdogan said his foreign travel plans after the parliamentary elections had already been scheduled.

"It wouldn't be correct to speak about it now, but traditionally we first visit Azerbaijan and Northern Cyprus," he said.

Azerbaijan provides Turkey with access to the energy-rich Caspian Sea states of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Turkey is also a strong supporter of the 1,768 km Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline that runs from the Azeri capital, Baku, to its Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which was inaugurated by Turkish President Ahmet Sezer in 2005, along with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is home to 150,000 Turkish Cypriots, and has remained divided since Turkey intervened in 1974, after a coup inspired by the military junta ruling Greece at the time.

Many see the deadlock over Cyprus as the biggest obstacle on Turkey's road to Europe.