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Ozersay quits as ‘deputy PM’ over Tatar’s decision on Varosha (Updated)

Kudret Ozersay

Kudret Ozersay, ‘deputy prime minister’ in the north, said he was quitting on Wednesday after ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar apparently stole Ozersay’s thunder by announcing he would be reopening the closed-off Varosha beachfront, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s blessing.

The move to open the beachfront, announced by Tatar on Tuesday, drew widespread condemnation both in the north and in the government-controlled areas, as well as with the international community.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Ozersay’s party HP said they had decided to leave the administration over the decision. Ozersay, who was the first to call for the reopening of Varosha under Turkish Cypriot control, said he was against Tatar’s decision because he had turned the issue into a campaign matter ahead of Sunday’s Turkish Cypriot leadership elections. Ozersay is also a candidate.

Ozersay went on to say Tatar went behind his back with the announcement to open the closed-off area on Tuesday.

He said he had information from the ‘mayor’ of Famagusta that there was movement in the area, and that he called Tatar to ask earlier on Tuesday.

“That [the phone call between the two] happened and hour and a half before the announcement [to open Varosha]. He didn’t say anything for an hour and a half, and I heard it live on television,” he said.

“Ersin Tatar has complete responsibility for everything that happened and for the dissolution of the ‘government’,” he said.

Attempting to save face that the decision to open Varosha was not a campaign ploy from Ankara, Tatar said he made the decision as ‘prime minister’ and not as a candidate in the upcoming elections.

On Ozersay, Tatar said it was not right for Ozersay’s party to leave the ‘government’, but he would request from Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to dissolve it and have a ‘transition government’ run things until the elections in the north on Sunday.

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