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Cyprus's Denktash Continues To Oppose Reunification Plan

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Nicosia

26 December 2002


Despite continued widespread opposition from people in Northern Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash continues to take a hostile attitude towards the UN plan for reunification of the island, divided since the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Denktash claims that if the Turkish Cypriots accepted the United Nations plan for a settlement, their community would be extinct in five to 10 years' time. "What is required from us in terms of territory is of such a nature that it will drive the Turkish Cypriots into poverty and push them to emigrate and evacuate northern Cyprus," he said this week.

Turkish Cypriot protesters in Nicosia however are continuing to demand Denktash's resignation and for a united Cyprus to join the European Union. They were joined on Monday by a group of hunger strikers demanding an immediate solution of the problem. And in Morphou a group of organisations known as 'This Country is Ours' staged a protest.

Meanwhile in Turkey the leader of the Turkish Republican Party Mehmet Ali Talat said Denktash had been using his illness as an excuse for delay, and was "alienated from his people and could not represent the Turkish Cypriots any more".

Denktash however remains intransigent, and said he was studying his reply to the second-stage plan sent by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, claiming Annan was not informed about the consequences of the plan's implementation.

Now that Cyprus has been invited to join the EU, there is little pressure on the Greek Cypriot side to make concessions to the Turkish north, and it is hard to see how a solution will be found by the UN's deadline of 28th February if the Turkish side does not find a way of bypassing Denktash and his allies, who give every appearance of not wanting to look for a solution.


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