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    Ankara warns Turkish Cypriot election winner over peace talks

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    21 Nisan 2009 - 14:41Son Güncelleme : 21 Nisan 2009 - 14:56

    ISTANBUL - Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned the hardliners who won the Turkish Cypriot polls on divided Cyprus against breaking off or disrupting peace talks with the Greek Cypriots, AFP reported.

    It would be very wrong for the new government to end the negotiations or to continue the negotiations on a basis different than the one that has been followed so far," Erdogan said in a speech to members of his party.

     

    "The process must continue exactly as before ... We will never support a move that would weaken the hand" of Turkish Cypriot leader and chief negotiator Mehmet Ali Talat, he added in the televised speech during a group party meeting.

     

    Erdogan was reacting to Dervis Eroglu, prime minister-elect of Turkish Cypriots, who has said the Cyprus reunification should be based on "two states" -- a framework rejected by the Greek Cypriots.

     

    The hardline nationalist appeared to be referring to a loose federation between the Turkish Cypriot and the the Greek Cypriots.

     

    Talat has been negotiating for a bi-zonal federation with Demetris Christofias, the Greek Cypriot leader, in U.N.-sponsored talks launched after a four-year hiatus.

     

    The return of Eroglu and his National Unity Party to power in Sunday’s elections has raised concerns over the reunification negotiations, although he moved quickly to assure the international community the talks would continue.

     

    Cyprus has been split since1964 when Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves.

     

    Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly supported the U.N.-sponsored blueprint in the referendum held in 2004, when previous efforts collapsed after it was rejected by Greek Cypriots. The European Union has since pledged to implement a free trade regulation to ease the isolations on the Turkish community on the island.

     

    The partition of Cyprus, an EU member, remains a major stumbling block for Turkey’s own bid to join the European Union.

     

     

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