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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Cyprus slams Turkish F1 'trick'
Mehmet Ali Talat hands the trophy to Brazilian Ferrari driver Felipe Massa at the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix
Greek Cypriots watched the event live on state TV
Cyprus is making an official complaint to motor sport's world governing body over what it calls a political "trick" at the Turkish Grand Prix.

The Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, presented the Formula One trophy at the televised event in Istanbul.

However, he was introduced as president of the Turkish Cypriot "state" - which is only recognised by Turkey.

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the north of the island after a Greek-inspired coup.

"The Cypriot government will denounce this unacceptable and provocative piece of theatre," Cyprus government spokesman Christodoulos Pashardis told reporters after the Grand Prix award ceremony.

Map of Cyprus

He accused Turkish officials of exploiting a sporting event and "tricking" the organising body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA).

"Mr Talat is neither a citizen nor an official of Turkey, the organising country, to be invited to present the Formula One winner's trophy," he stated.

He also said the Cypriot Automobile Association would lodge a follow-up complaint.

The event was watched by Greek Cypriots live on state television and by an estimated 2.5 billion people around the world.


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