Cyprus. According to
CountryAAH, Cyprus-Turkey relations remained cool during the
year, casting a shadow over Turkey's membership negotiations
with the EU. One question was whether Cypriot ships and
aircraft could use Turkish ports and airports. However,
Turkey demanded that the trade blockade against the
self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot Republic of Northern Cyprus
should be lifted first. The European Commission recommended
in November to freeze negotiations with Turkey, which
responded by offering to open a port and an airport. The EU
Foreign Ministers considered it insufficient and decided on
11 December to slow down the pace of negotiations.
The ruling center-left coalition won Cyprus's
parliamentary election on May 26. The election was the first
since the referendum in April 2004 when a majority of Greek
Cypriots rejected a UN plan for reunification and power
sharing. President Tassos Papadopoulos Middle Party
Democratic Party (DIKO) received 17.9%, and eleven seats -
two more than in the 2001. The Communist Workers' Progress
Party (AKEL) was the largest by 31% but lost two seats to
eighteen, while Social Democratic EDEK got five of
Parliament's 56 seats. AKEL Secretary-General Demetris
Christofias was re-elected as President, a post he held
since 2001. The right-wing Democratic Assembly (DISY) backed
from 34 to 30% and received eighteen seats, a reduction of
one. Papadopoulos completed a major government reform in
June. Only four ministers retained their posts.
The Turkish Cypriot coalition government resigned on
September 11 after a period of wear and tear. Prime Minister
Ferdi Sabit Soyer's party, the Republican Turkish Party
(CTP), had demanded more seats after running for election in
June. Soyer was critical of the Democratic Party (DP)
coalition partner who opposed concessions to the Greek
Cypriots. Just before the government's resignation, four
members of the DP and one opposition party formed a new
party, the Conservative Freedom and Reform Party (ORP).
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat approved the
coalition government between CTP and ORP on September 25. It
was led by Soyer. ORP's Turgut Avci became Foreign Minister.
Thousands of people were evacuated in July and August
before the Lebanon War to Cyprus.
In June, the UN extended the UNFICYP peacekeeping mandate
for another six months. Papadopoulos and Talat met in early
July for the first time since the 2004 referendum. The talks
were about attempts to clarify what happened to the
estimated 2,000 people who reported missing after various
attacks and acts of violence until the Turkish invasion of
The Greek Orthodox Church appointed Chrysostomos II a new
Archbishop in September after his representative was
declared unsuitable for the post due to mental illness.
At the end of January, several cases of bird flu were
reported. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, mass
slaughter of domestic birds was carried out.