Turkish Cypriots favour a permanent split with south

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The Independent Online

They were the people who, three years ago, voted overwhelmingly for a peaceful resolution to the division of their island and were rewarded by being denied entry into the European Union. Now for the first time in years, thanks to a string of broken promises by Brussels and the wider international community, the population of north Cyprus favour the permanent partition of their Mediterranean island.

According to a recent poll conducted by the self-declared Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, 60 per cent of Turkish Cypriots now favour a two-state solution that would see their population permanently separated from their Greek counterparts on the south of the island along the infamous Green Line border that carves the island in two.

The findings are in stark contrast to the results of a referendum held three years ago in which just under 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted for a UN-backed peace plan in favour of reunification with the south. In the same referendum the Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected the peace plan but were able to enter the EU because their government is recognised internationally.

According to Mehmet Ali Talat, the pro-reconciliation President of Turkish Cyprus, the change in popular opinion is the legacy of the international community, and the EU in particular, failing to live up to its promises to end the isolation of the north and encourage greater direct trade.

In an interview, Mr Talat expressed frustration at the lack of progress in peace talks. "I find myself continuously warning the international community and the Greek Cypriot side that the Green Line is becoming more and more permanent, not less," he said.

"Turkish Cypriots have started to say if they don't want a solution with us, if they don't want to live with us why should we continue to ask to live together, what is the point? A growing number of Turkish Cypriot's are thinking this every day. The walls between the two peoples are growing taller every day."

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