Sparring ahead of Cyprus poll

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Opponents of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash accused Turkey yesterday of meddling in Sunday’s elections in occupied northern Cyprus. But Denktash, speaking as Turkey unveiled more aid for the occupied north, said Ankara was fully entitled to interfere in Turkish-Cypriot politics. Denktash’s foes have been incensed by a Turkish government minister’s visit ahead of the crucial vote for a 50-seat house of representatives, saying it implies Ankara’s backing of Denktash’s rejection of a UN blueprint for reunification. «This is geared to give the public a message. The timing is wrong and it is the final link in a chain of many actions to interfere with the elections,» Mustafa Akinci, leader of the opposition Peace and Democracy Movement (BDH) that supports the UN plan, told Reuters. «It is hard to say this will be a democratic and transparent election.» Denktash countered that Turkey «has every right to interfere.» Speaking earlier in occupied Nicosia, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener announced a flurry of new infrastructure projects worth $160 million.