Former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit spoke to an emotional crowd of 50,000 Turkish Cypriots in the island's capital, Nicosia, on Friday (3 January).
Former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit spoke to an emotional crowd of 50,000 Turkish Cypriots in the island's capital, Nicosia, on Friday (3 January). Accompanied by Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash, the Turkish politician described the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July last year as " a political responsibility and a humanitarian duty".
The Turkish Cypriot crowd roared applause when Mr. Ecevit said there were now two separate administrations in Cyprus -- a situation, he went on to say, recognised by the United Nations' Security Council and the Geneva conference on Cyprus last August.
One of Mr. Ecevit's main tasks during his four-day visit was to discuss the island's situation with Mr. Denktash. Talks between the Turkish Cypriot leader and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Mr. Glafkos Clerides, have ground to a halt.
Since his arrival on Thursday, the former Turkish loader has toured the northern part of the island, occupied by Turkish troops since the invasion. According to official sources, 560 Turkish servicemen died in the fighting which continued until the mid-August ceasefire. Mr. Ecevit has called for several thousand Turkish Cypriots -- at present refugees in camps at the British base in Episkopi in the southwest -- to bo allowed to move north to the Turkish sector.
Mr. Ecevit resigned his position as Turkish Premier in September, taking the Cabinet with him. Turkey has been without a Government since then -- despite many moves in Ankara to from a coalition cabinet.