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Tuesday, January 20, 1998 Published at 18:42 GMT



Despatches
image: [ BBC Correspondent: Chris Drake ]Chris Drake
Nicosia

Turkish Cypriot leader Ralph Denktash announced today that he will have no further dealings with Sir David Hannay, Britain's Special Representative to Cyprus, in protest at the British government's decision last week to demand his people apply for visas to visit the United Kingdom. Sir David is Britain's chief negotiator in efforts to re-unite the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, a role which has taken on added importance this year now that Britain holds the presidency of the European Union. In an interview today with the BBC, Mr Denktash also confirmed that the long-running, intercommunal talks were dead and that any further discussions on a settlement will take place only if there is international recognition for his self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Our correspondent Chris Drake reports from Nicosia.

Britain withdrew visa-free entry for Turkish Cypriots following almost a thousand unfounded claims for political asylum during the past two years, but Mr Denktash insists the real reason is a deliberate political move. He says it is a punishment because he wants future settlement talks to be based on negotiations between two recognised states rather than the two communities.

He described the British move as uncalled for, unjust, and all the more insulting because visas had to be paid for in the recognised Cyprus currency, rather than the Turkish lira his own community uses. As a result he will now refuse to meet Sir David Hannay or any government representative, and will receive British High Commissioner to Cyprus, David Madden, only to discuss the visa issue.

He agreed that he himself now requires a visa but will not apply for one, instead cancelling two planned trips to Britain and any visits by members of his administration. He blames the EU's decision to allow the recognised Greek Cypriot government to apply for membership for killing the intercommunal talks and says that unless his 14 year-old Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognised internationally, instead of just by Turkey, the status of all foreign diplomats based in the south will have to be reviewed.





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