Tags: Cypriots' | Government | Collapses

Cypriots' Government Collapses

Thursday, 24 May 2001 12:00 AM

"It has become meaningless to continue with this government," Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, who heads the National Unity Party, the senior partner of the coalition, told reporters Thursday in Nicosia.

Eroglu signaled that he would form a new government with the right-wing Democrat Party.

The UBP holds 23 seats in the 50-seat parliament of the TRNC, the breakaway state on the divided island of Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

The two partners in the coalition have long been at odds over policy issues facing the TRNC, sources close to the government told United Press International.

The main point of disagreement was proximity talks between the TRNC and the Cyprus government that were held last year under the auspices of the United Nations.

Mustafa Akinci, heading the left-wing Communal Liberation Party, the junior partner of the coalition, favored continuation of the proximity talks, which he hoped would eventually lead to joining the European Union along with the Cyprus government.

Both the Cyprus government and Turkey are among the candidates for membership to the European Union.

The EU pressured Turkey to solve the Cyprus issue before it can become eligible for membership. Ankara maintains its stand that TRNC should be recognized as an independent political entity.

The proximity talks broke down at the end of last year when Rauf Denktash, TRNC president, pulled out, requesting that he be granted equal status with Glafkos Clerides, the president of the Cyprus government.

"The policy on the future of the TRNC is decided outside the government, even outside this island -- I cannot take that in," Akinci was reported as saying to his close aides, in reference to Turkey.

The other reason for the fall of the government is the economic crisis, the sources said.

They said Akinci also opposed the austerity measures imposed by Turkey but was obliged to go ahead with them as his government was on the receiving end of credits from Ankara.

"It boils down to the consolidation of right-wing flanks in the TRNC," a source close to the TRNC government said.

This source said Denktash's son, Serdar, who is known as a hard-liner, will no doubt be in the government.

Cyprus was divided into north and south in 1974 when Turkish troops intervened to end a coup backed by the then-military junta of the Greek government.

Since then, Turkey maintains some 30,000 soldiers in the northern part of the island.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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It has become meaningless to continue with this government, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, who heads the National Unity Party, the senior partner of the coalition, told reporters Thursday in Nicosia. Eroglu signaled that he would form a new government with the...
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2001-00-24
Thursday, 24 May 2001 12:00 AM
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