- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Winner in Cyprus

The election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Sunday ended with a parliament evenly divided between pro- and antigovernment parties, but the real winner was democracy, according to the Turkish-Cypriot envoy in Washington.

“The real winner is democracy because the election was peaceful, free, fair and transparent. There were secret ballots. There is no doubt they were clean elections,” Osman Ertug said yesterday.

He said the election showed an even split between those who favor a plan proposed by the United Nations for reunification with the Greek-Cypriot government and those who support President Rauf Denktash, who has rejected the plan.

The two pro-government parties captured 25 seats and the two opposition parties won 25 seats in the 50-seat legislature.

The Turkish-Cypriot regime on the northern part of the island is recognized only by Turkey, while the Greek-Cypriot administration in the south is the internationally recognized government of Cyprus. The European Union is prepared to admit the Greek-Cypriot government in May, even if the island remains divided.

Mr. Ertug said Turkish-Cypriots showed “maturity” with their vote.

“They are for a settlement, for EU membership but also for the preservation of their state. They differ on how to achieve this, but the message they sent politicians is to form a consensus,” he said. “Everyone is showing maturity and making conciliatory statements.”

In Cyprus yesterday, Mr. Denktash urged the parties to form a broad coalition government, and U.S. envoy Thomas Weston arrived for talks with Cyprus’ president, Tassos Papadopoulos. He is due to meet with Mr. Denktash today.

“This particular trip of mine is coming at a very interesting time, in the wake of the electoral process in the north and the rather confusing situation which has emerged,” Mr. Weston, the State Department’s coordinator for Cyprus, told reporters.

“Our view is that the effort to get a settlement to the Cyprus question cannot wait for a resolution of the way forward in the politics of northern Cyprus.”

Greek studies

Greek Ambassador George Savvaides is celebrating the creation of an endowment for Greek studies at Georgetown University and is proud that the program has attracted the attention of a prominent American who has no Greek ancestry.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian immigrant, this week sent the ambassador a commendation as recognition of the embassy’s contribution to higher education in the United States.

“I commend your efforts to raise awareness of the contributions of Hellenism throughout the history of mankind, including accomplishments in art, architecture, civics, athletics, literature, philosophy, politics, the sciences and theater,” the Republican governor said.

Mr. Savvaides on Monday played host to an embassy dinner to thank contributors for endowing the chair in contemporary Greek studies, which will be named after two prominent Californians of Greek heritage, Markos and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis.

Mr. Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis is the owner of the Washington Monthly magazine, the author of several books and a former foreign correspondent for Newsweek. His wife is the daughter of California real estate tycoon Angelo Tsakopoulos. They donated $1.2 million to endow the chair, more than double the $450,000 given by other contributors.

“The Greek government has warmly welcomed the launching of this initiative at one of the most distinguished academic institutions of the United States, particularly because it will advance Hellenic studies, which are much less frequently offered by American universities than courses in the classics,” Mr. Savvaides said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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