The Turkish-Cypriot prime minister has put his political career on the line in the hope he can win a stronger hand against the opposition. The minority government of Mehmet Ali Talat has resigned en masse, a move apparently designed to force fresh elections. Talat has been trying for months to forge a new coalition, and says he will still keep trying: “Now we are looking for maybe if there is a possibility to form such a government in the parliament, otherwise as we said it seems that it is inevitable to have an early election.”
Talat lost his majority after a referendum which saw Turkish Cyriots accept and Greek Cypriots reject a UN peace plan to unite the island. The prime minister was undermined by the EU’s failure to lift trade sanctions against the Turkish Cypriots in reward for their ‘Yes’ vote.
The Greek Cypriots, who are now EU members, argue lifting the barriers could lead to the Turkish side becoming internationally recognised. Talat believes fresh elections will give him a stronger position against Turkish Cypriots who oppose reunification.