Turkish-Cypriot leader fires chief negotiator in peace talks

Kudret Ozersay was on Wednesday sacked as chief Turkish-Cypriot negotiator in talks to reunify the Mediterranean island, according to reports in the local media.

The decision, made by Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, came a few days after Ozersay announced his intention to run in next year’s elections for the Turkish-Cypriot leadership.

In comments made at the time, Ozersay said he planned to remain at his post as negotiator until a timetable for the vote had been announced, unless Eroglu decided to remove him.

Eroglu has not said if he will seek a fresh mandate.

“Mr Dervis Eroglu had a meeting with Mr Ozersay and informed him that it would be more convenient if he went back to his position at the Eastern Mediterranean University,” a statement from Eroglu’s office said according to reports.

Eroglu is expected to appoint a new negotiator later this week.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the Athens government. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state that was proclaimed in the north of the island in violation of international law.

On Tuesday, Cyprus pulled out of the latest round of United Nations-buffered peace talks in protest at apparent attempts by Turkey to encroach on Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and called on the international community to condemn Ankara’s “provocative behavior.”

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