Divided Cypriots unite over EU

Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots staged very different demonstrations on either side of the line dividing Nicosia yesterday, on the 19th anniversary of the unilateral proclamation of a Turkish-Cypriot state in northern Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots held a military parade involving Turkish occupation forces and called for the continued existence of their state. Across the Green Line, thousands of young Greek Cypriots called for an end to the occupation. Two separate polls, however, indicated that both communities are strongly in favor of Cyprus’s EU accession. A poll among Turkish Cypriots conducted by KADEM for the European Commission from Sept.1-20 found that 88.4 percent consider EU accession a good thing. A Eurobarometer poll (Sept. 2 to Oct. 16) found that 58 percent of Greek Cypriots would vote in favor of accession in a referendum, while 47 percent thought accession was a good thing, 34 percent were neutral and 12 percent thought it a bad thing. Turkey’s ruling party chief, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was to meet with Rauf Denktash today but the Turkish-Cypriot leader put off his return to Cyprus from New York because of illness.

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