Cypriot protest over Turkish occupation

NICOSIA (AP) – Turkish Cypriots in the north of this war-divided island celebrated independence yesterday, while Greek Cypriots protested in the internationally recognized south. The island’s northern third unilaterally declared independence on November 15, 1983, but only Turkey recognizes the breakaway state in the north of Cyprus. In the capital, Nicosia, Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said Turkish efforts to «amputate Cyprus» would not succeed. Just a few kilometers north, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat saluted a military parade. An aerial display by the Turkish air force was planned later yesterday in the coastal town of Kyrenia. Talat said Turkish Cypriots would not compromise over their «legal rights.» «We know well that the Turkish Republic, with which we are bound through historical ties, will never disappoint us,» Talat said. Around 600 students waving Cypriot and Greek flags gathered in Nicosia’s Eleftherias (Freedom) Square for a concert. «Our aim is not partition. We want the reunification of Cyprus,» said Sotiris Xenofontos, a student union spokesman. Cyprus has been separated since 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of an Athens-backed coup by supporters of union with Greece. A draft settlement plan approved by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was rejected by Greek Cypriots and approved by Turkish Cypriots in separate referendums last year.

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