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Media Watch 2003

05 September 2003
Source: Kathimerini
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in Kathimerini English Edition of Athens on 5 September 2003.
Turk-Cypriot opposition unites


NICOSIA (Reuters) - Three Turkish-Cypriot opposition parties said yesterday they were joining forces in a bid to defeat veteran leader Rauf Denktash in parliamentary elections later this year and pave the way for Cyprus’s reunification.

Denktash, who heads the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot enclave recognized only by Turkey, has rejected a UN peace plan aimed at reuniting the island before it joins the European Union next May. The UN and the EU have blamed him for the breakdown of the peace talks.

The newly formed “United Forces” grouping said in a statement its main objective was to achieve a united Cyprus based on the UN blueprint and on the “political equality of the Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot constituent states.”

“The three parties, as a first step soon after the elections, will terminate the duties of President Denktash as negotiator and will appoint a new team of negotiators with the confidence of the majority in the assembly,” the statement said.

The three anti-Denktash parties are the Solution and EU Party of Ali Erel, the Peace and Democracy Movement of Mustafa Akinci and the Republican Turkish Party of Mehmet Ali Talat. The Turkish-Cypriot assembly, now dominated by Denktash’s supporters, is expected later this month to confirm December as the poll date.

Erel said this left a very tight deadline for resuming and completing the reunification talks with Nicosia and putting the final deal to the people in a referendum. “We will have to finish negotiations and finalize the settlement by the end of March. That leaves us only three months,” he told Reuters. But Erel said he envisaged only small modifications of the UN plan. “The overall balance of the plan cannot be disturbed, the general framework... is going to be kept.”"