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Mass rally in occupied Cyprus calls for solution and accession to EU
2002-11-28 14:00:45

Nicosia, Nov 28 (CNA) ? Around 20 thousand people in the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus manifested their will for a Cyprus settlement and the island's accession to the European Union (EU) at a mass rally.

The banners echoed the sentiments of the Turkish Cypriots and some of them read ''Respect the will of the Turkish Cypriots'', ''No one can put obstacles to peace on the island'', ''Yes to a solution and accession to the European Union'', "Yes to Greco-Turkish friendship'' and ''Peace, here and now".

The rally made the headlines Thursday morning in most of the Turkish Cypriot press, with the exception of the National Unity Party's mouthpiece "Birlik" and the nationalist "Volkan".|

The headlines in the dailies Kibris and Ortam read ''Solution and EU'', while the main opposition Afrika noted that ''15,000 people back a solution and EU".

Birlik expressed the disappointment of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime about the rally and Volkan, in an effort to undermine the event claimed that only 2.500 people attended, and described it a ''fiasco.''

The rally was addressed by President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Ali Erel, the President of the Turkish Cypriot trade union of teachers of tertiary education and the President of the trade union of so called "civil servants" KTAMS. All expressed their desire for a political settlement and the island's accession to the EU, noting that solution and accession offer new prospects for Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot students studying in Constantinople universities staged a demonstration outside the so-called "consulate" of the illegal regime there, expressing their support for the rally in the occupied areas.

Security measures were tight and in many cases, so-called "policemen" carried out body searches on people who entered the area where the rally was held.

"Afrika's" columnist said that during the rally, demonstrators instead of calling on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to return to the negotiating table, called for his replacement and said they do not recognise him.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

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