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President hopes change in T/C leadership will help Turkey amend policy
2003-08-25 23:14:03

Nicosia, Aug 25 (CNA) -- President Tassos Papadopoulos has expressed hope that any change in the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community after December's ''elections'' in Turkish occupied Cyprus will help Turkey adopt a different policy than the one it has been following so far.

In statements, on the sidelines of the 13th World Congress of Overseas Cypriots which began here today, Papadopoulos said that all indications are that Tayyip Erdogan's government supports Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's policy on Cyprus.|

Invited to comment on remarks by Turkish Republican Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat that the human rights of Turkish settlers in Cyprus cannot be ignored, Papadopoulos noted that ''this is a 'pre-election' period in the occupied areas. Talat is obviously willing to secure the 'votes' of the settlers because without them he has no possibility of winning the 'elections' ''.

Asked about the importance he attributes to these ''elections'', as regards developments in the Cyprus problem, Papadopoulos said that as long as Denktash is in 'power' the Turkish Cypriot leader will stick to his vision, which the President called ''a nightmare'', which is the creation of two separate, sovereign legal entities, something that would prevent a political settlement.

''I hope that a change in the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community will help Turkey adopt a different policy than the one it has been following so far,'' Papadopoulos added.

Invited to comment on statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians Mustafa Akkinci and Ali Erel who said they would challenge the President to examine seriously a UN plan for a settlement, Papadopoulos said ''I don't think they have studied the plan more seriously than we have.''

''I expressed my position on the plan before the peace talks at The Hague in March, I outlined my views at the negotiating table in The Hague and since then the UN Secretary General has repeatedly said that our positions and views to improve the plan are within the parameters and the framework of his peace proposal,'' he added.

Invited to say if the so-called ''elections'' might bring any changes in the approach of the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus issue, President Papadopoulos replied ''my impression is that basically Ankara has always been our interlocutor.''

''All indications and formal statements are that Turkey's government supports Denktash's policies. The words used may be different but in essence Ankara gives its full backing to Denktash,'' he said.

Answering questions, Papadopoulos said ''a group of experts in Cyprus has for the past three months been studying the financial aspects of the Cyprus problem with the assistance of other experts from Greece.''

CNA/MK/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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