Winner in Cyprus

Article excerpt

Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Winner in Cyprus

The election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Sunday ended with a parliament evenly divided between pro- and antigovernment parties, but the real winner was democracy, according to the Turkish-Cypriot envoy in Washington.

"The real winner is democracy because the election was peaceful, free, fair and transparent. There were secret ballots. There is no doubt they were clean elections," Osman Ertug said yesterday.

He said the election showed an even split between those who favor a plan proposed by the United Nations for reunification with the Greek-Cypriot government and those who support President Rauf Denktash, who has rejected the plan.

The two pro-government parties captured 25 seats and the two opposition parties won 25 seats in the 50-seat legislature.

The Turkish-Cypriot regime on the northern part of the island is recognized only by Turkey, while the Greek-Cypriot administration in the south is the internationally recognized government of Cyprus. The European Union is prepared to admit the Greek-Cypriot government in May, even if the island remains divided.

Mr. Ertug said Turkish-Cypriots showed "maturity" with their vote.

"They are for a settlement, for EU membership but also for the preservation of their state. They differ on how to achieve this, but the message they sent politicians is to form a consensus," he said. "Everyone is showing maturity and making conciliatory statements."

In Cyprus yesterday, Mr. Denktash urged the parties to form a broad coalition government, and U.S. envoy Thomas Weston arrived for talks with Cyprus' president, Tassos Papadopoulos. He is due to meet with Mr. Denktash today.

"This particular trip of mine is coming at a very interesting time, in the wake of the electoral process in the north and the rather confusing situation which has emerged," Mr. Weston, the State Department's coordinator for Cyprus, told reporters. …