U.S. sees Talat as Turkish-Cyprus head

May 26, 2004 at 10:28 AM

WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department Wednesday announced a change in its position on the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community.

During the past week, Tom Weston, the State Department's special coordinator for Cyprus, twice referred to Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot people. The department had previously recognized veteran Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

"Secretary (Colin) Powell has met with Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat in his capacity as leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, and U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson has called on Mr. Talat as leader of the Turkish Cypriot community," the State Department said in a statement. "Our position is that he is the leader of the Turkish Cypriots."

Talat was a key supporter of last month's failed referendum for the reunification of Cyprus. Although the Turkish part of the island voted to reunification, Greek-Cypriots rejected it. The island has been divided since 1974 following a Turkish invasion.

Denktash indicated earlier this month he may not seek re-election as president.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy drops bid for speaker
WikiLeaks offering $50K for video of Afghan hospital bombing
Murdoch sorry for implying Obama's not a 'real black president'
Reid sues exercise companies over eye injury
Lumber Liquidators to pay $10M in DOJ settlement