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Cyprus poll result sparks concerns for peace talks

Cyprus poll result sparks concerns for peace talks
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What now for peace talks in Cyprus?

Concerns have been expressed at Turkish Cypriot nationalist Dervis Eroglu’s election triumph. A staunch backer of independence for the breakaway north and its prime minister, he has won outright victory in its presidential poll.

It is a negative development, as far as the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government is concerned.

“Having in mind the constant and declared position of Mr Eroglu against the federation and in favour of the establishment of two separate states in Cyprus, significant problems will be created in the negotiations,” said Greek Cypriot government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.

The result has major implications for Turkey, the only country to recognise northern Cyprus. With its EU ambitions in the balance, Ankara wants a settlement to be reached.

Vowing to continue backing peace talks, its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the process should be pursued, regardless of who is leading Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus has been divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974, triggered by a brief coup inspired by Greece.

UN-backed reunification talks have been part of a series of efforts to resolve the dispute. The north’s now defeated leader Mehmet Ali Talat had been engaged in peace talks for the past 18 months. His successor says he will continue them but Dervis Eroglu’s stance is unacceptable for Greek Cypriots, who represent Cyprus in the EU.