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Turkish Cypriot protest at Slovak peace meeting.

Byline: Simon Bahceli

TURKISH Cypriot politicians yesterday walked out of a monthly bicommunal meeting with Greek Cypriot deputies at the Ledra Palace Hotel to protest the Slovak Ambassador Anna Turenicova's absence from a dinner held at Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's home last month.

Hosted by Talat on November 25, the dinner was to be attended by all EU member state ambassadors on the island. However many failed to turn up, due, according to the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to warnings that they would invoke the anger of the government.

Deputies from both communities have been attending monthly meetings hosted by the Slovak embassy in Nicosia's buffer zone for the past two decades.

"We wanted to express our disappointment at the fact that an embassy that has been working for 20 years towards bringing the two communities together would bow to pressure from the Greek Cypriot government not to attend a dinner hosted by Mr Talat," Republican Turkish Party (CTP) general secretary Kutlay Erk told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

Erk said "a significant number" of EU ambassadors had adhered to the Greek Cypriot warning and stayed away from Talat's dinner.

Talat had wanted to speak to the ambassadors about the need not to block Turkey's EU accession process ahead of the EU summit last week.

"I feel very sad about what happened," said Turenicova, stressing that she is convinced that "nobody can doubt about the fairness and the absolutely neutral approach of my country and myself towards Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. Slovakia has done a lot, was helping and still does the bicommunal dialogue".

Slovakia, she said, "acts in accordance with international law and we are ready to continue our efforts. We hope that people will appreciate what Slovakia has done for Cyprus and we hope we can continue in that."

According to CNA, yesterday's host, EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou expressed regret at what happened, saying that the parties have full confidence in the Slovak Ambassador in her task.

The rest of the politicians who attended today's meeting also expressed regret at the decision of the three Turkish Cypriot parties to leave the meeting.

Yesterday's walkout was staged by Talat's CTP, Serdar Denktash's Democrat Party (DP) and the Democratic Communal Party (DTP). The ruling National Unity Party (UBP) has never taken part in the bicommunal meetings and therefore was not involved in the protest.

"We went to the meeting yesterday and joined in the memorial service for the former Czechoslovak president who instigated the meetings. We then announced that we would walk out of the meeting in protest," Erk said. He added that the walkout sparked "a short argument" among the bicommunal group of deputies.

Erk said there would be no continuation of yesterday's protest, but that he and other Turkish Cypriot politicians would bring up the issue "as and when" they come into contact with EU ambassadors who did not attend Talat's dinner.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Dec 17, 2009
Words:498
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