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Turkish Cypriot leader stands down

April 15, 2005 at 8:22 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus, April 15 (UPI) -- The long-time leader of Cyprus' Turkish community has withdrawn from Sunday's balloting on the ethnically fractured Mediterranean island.

The departure of Rauf Denktash, 81, comes as his own constituents have begun to join Greeks in wearying of his hard-line approach to politics, the Telegraph reported Friday.

Mehmet Ali Talat, the current prime minister who advocates a more conciliatory approach, is expected to succeed Denktash.

Like most Turkish Cypriots, Talat supports reunification and full integration into the European Union.

His recent success reflects a shift in Turkish Cypriot public opinion away from Denktash's isolationist policies.

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