Biography of Rauf Denktas (1924-2012)

Politician and Turkish Cypriot lawyer born in Ktima, near Paphos, on January 27, 1924 and died in Nicosia on 13 January 2012. Historically faced the Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot community leader, in 1974 established the State Federated Turkish of Cyprus, who was elected President a year later, and in 1983 he/she proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey. He/She studied law in London and, for some years, worked as a teacher and lawyer, before devoting himself fully to the policy.

Tensions between the communities of Greek and Turkish of the island existed since the 16th century and, after the British colonization in 1925, were accentuated. The Greek Cypriots wanted unity with Greece, while the Turkish Cypriots preferred English guardianship and the partition of the island. At the end of 1958 began talks in Zurich between interested parties. Rauf Denktas was then in charge of defending the interests of the Turkish Cypriot minority before the international community. As a result of the negotiations was proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, formally established on August 16, 1960. The country adopted a Constitution that expressly prohibits the division of the island, as well as her marriage to any other State. In that year, Rauf Denktas had become the President of the Turkish Communal Chamber and leader of Turkish Cypriot associations.

The Archbishop Greek Cypriot Miriarthos Makarios was elected President, and the Vice President Fazil Küchuk, representing the Turkish minority. Three years later, the Greek Cypriots attempted to reform the Constitution and new clashes. After the riots, Denktaş received the ban from entering the island and lived in Turkey until 1968. On his return, he/she assumed the Vice-Presidency of the Turkish Cypriot provisional administration and in 1970 was re-elected President of the Turkish Communal Chamber.

The country experienced a period of relative calm until a regrowth in favor of annexation to Greece in 1974. A coup d'Etat led by official Cypriot National Guard ended the Government of Makarios. Turkish military forces invaded the island and took almost forty percent of the territory, while they declared unilaterally in 1975 the Federated Turkish State of Cyprus. Rauf Denktas, who in 1973 had founded the National Union Party, became its President and renew the charge in 1976 and 1981. Makarios returned to Cyprus and resumed the Presidency of the Greek part of the island.

Since that time, the country was divided by "Attila line", cutting the territory from Morfu, on the Northwest Coast, to Famagusta, on the northeastern coast, through the capital, Nicosia. From 1976, Rauf Denktas, President of the North, and Makarios, in the South, initiated talks, without success, to achieve unity. On the death of Makarios in 1977, Spiros Kiprianon, leader of the Democratic front, succeeded him, but negotiations continued without substantial progress.

In 1981, the Turkish Cypriots agreed to return part of the territory in his power, and in 1983 proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey. Denktaş became its President and renewed the charge in 1985, 1990 and 1995.

The new Cypriot President Vassiliou and Denktaş arranged a new meeting in New York in 1990. The UN Security Council then adopted a resolution appealing to the continuity of the negotiations to create a "Confederation bizonal and Bizonal". Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot Government had requested the entry of Cyprus in the European Community, but President Denktas protested claiming that the Turkish Cypriots had not been consulted.

At the end of 2001, Glefcos Clerides, Greek-Cypriot President since 1993, met with Denktaş in the area truca; a historic gesture that raised major expectations about the possibility of ending the division of the island. But negotiations ended without basic agreements, and a year later, tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots still demanded its highest representative to resume dialogue and negotiate plans for reunification of the island.

The static option of Denktaş, determined to block the confederal plan United Nations, began to falter seriously in late 2002 when, on the one hand, the European Council, meeting in Copenhagen, officialized the accession of the Greek Cypriots in the European Union on April 16, 2004, and, on the other hand, the new Turkish Government announced a u-turn in its policy in the North of the island. After three decades of military occupation and the constant threat to annex the Turkish Cypriot side, Ankara said his resignation to this claim and its support for the reunification plan proposed by the UN.

In the weeks following intensified pressure on Denktaş accept the Agreement constitute the "Confederation bizonal and Bizonal" proposed by the United Nations. Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriots got out of the Presidential Office to historic Glafkos Clerides and Tasos Papadopoulos, elected new head of the State. Before the end of 2003, the legislative elections held in the Turkish Cypriot side gave a technical tie between the social democratic Alí Mehmet Talat, pro-European and favorable to the reunification, and the coalition of Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, defender of the theses of Denktaş. Talat was, however, the most voted candidate, and the President tasked with the formation of the new Government.

With the new year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, returned to summon representatives of both communities and was able to boot from the parties a commitment to put to referendum on the reunification of the island. The consultation was held on 24 April 2004 form paralea in two areas of the island but the majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the reunification; a decision that left out of European institutions to the nearly 200,000 Turkish Cypriots from the northern third of the country, despite the fact that his pronouncement in the referendum had been favorable.

In the month of October and after losing the parliamentary majority by the resignation of several members, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Alí Talat submitted resignation in block of his Government to President Denktas. The Executive's resignation was interpreted by political analysts as an attempt to force a new election that would be an Executive more solid and favourable to the renegotiation of the reunification of the island. The forecasts of the experts met and on 20 February 2005 the Prime Minister functions and leader of the Republican Turkish party, Mehmet Alí Talat, was proclaimed winner of the Turkish Cypriot legislative elections with 45% of the votes.

Two months later, voters in Northern Cyprus returned to decide at the polls with presidential elections and again supported the role of the social-democratic Talat. The historic Denktaş, who had resigned to submit his candidacy, for reasons of age could not deliver the presidential baton to your dolphin, conservative Dervis Eroglu, but to the outgoing Prime Minister and new leader of the supporters of the reunification.