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Cyprus election awkward for Turkey

brussels bureau

Cyprus election awkward for Turkey


Turkish Cypriots appear poised to complicate Turkey’s bid to join the European Union — if, as expected, they elect a hardliner in their presidential elections. It is the last day of campaigning in northern Cyprus — which is recognised only by Ankara.

The conservative Dervis Eroglu, the frontrunner in polls ahead of this Sunday’s ballot, accuses the incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat of failing in talks with the Cyprus government aimed at resolving territorial disputes with the Greek Cypriots.

Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Talat have been working intensively on problem areas in peace negotiations launched in 2008.

Internationally, the whole of Cyprus legitimately belongs under Greek Cypriot rule. Turkish troops remain in the self-proclaimed Republic of Northern Cyprus. A 1974 Turkish invasion split the island after a Greek-inspired coup. Eroglu rules out any Greek Cypriots returning to land they lost then.

Professor Niyazi Kizilyürek, at the University of Cyprus, said: “Mr Eroglu is promoting this idea of a two-state solution which is not to be accepted either by the international community or by the Greek Cypriot side. So, if he wins the election, probably Cyprus negotiations will not continue and if they continue, it will not end up with any concrete results.”

Failing progress, the Republic of Cyprus (the Greek Cypriots), which alone represent the island in the EU, will continue to block Turkey from joining the EU.

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brussels bureau