Dervis Eroglu, President of Northern Cyprus (since April 23, 2010)
Dr. Derviş Eroğlu (born 1938) is a political figure and President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). He was Prime Minister of the entity from 1985 to 1994 and from 1996 to 2004, and leader of the National Unity Party. His party won the general elections in 2009 and Eroğlu became Prime Minister again. On 23 April 2010, he took the oath to become the third President of Northern Cyprus.
Born in Famagusta, Cyprus in 1938, he studied medicine at Istanbul University, Turkey.
He entered the Assembly of the Republic of Northern Cyprus of the then-Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus in 1976, serving as Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports during 1976-77. He served as a member of the de facto TRNC Constituent Assembly in November 1983. As the leader of the National Unity Party, he was appointed TRNC Prime Minister in four successive governments between 1985 and 1993 (He was opposition leader between 1994 and 1996), and from 1996 until his party lost the general election to the Republican Turkish Party under Mehmet Ali Talat in 2004. Eroğlu’s UBP won the majority in the parliament in elections of 18th April 2009; by 44% of the general vote and Eroğlu became prime minister again after 5 years.
On November 21, 2005, Eroğlu resigned as leader of the National Unity Party, stating that “it was time for younger blood to take control”. Re-elected to the chair in November 2008. Eroğlu was elected to the office of President of Northern Cyprus on 18 April 2010.
Eroğlu is married, has four children and three grandchildren.
Mehmet Ali Talat, Former President of Northern Cyprus
Mehmet Ali Talat (born July 6, 1952) is the current President of the de factoTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which controls the northern third of the island of Cyprus, but is unrecognized by any nation except Turkey. Because the UN does not recognize the TRNC it treats Mehmet Ali Talat as bona fide negotiator for the Turkish Cypriot community of the Republic of Cyprus. He was the leader of the left wing Republican Turkish Party (Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi). He became prime minister in 2004, and consequently won the Presidential election held on 17 April 2005. Talat was inaugurated on 25 April 2005, succeeding retiring President Rauf Denktaş.
Involved in various political activities since he was a university student, Talat continued after he returned to Cyprus, and played an important role in the establishment of Turkish Cypriot trade unions and the Turkish Cypriot Students’ Youth Federation (KOGEF), becoming the first chairman of its executive board.
He also participated in the youth movement of the Republican Turkish Party, and served in various committees and organs of the RTP for many years. He served as the party secretary for Education.
Political career in the TRNC
Talat was the Minister of Education and Culture in the first coalition government formed by the RTP-Democrat Party (DP) Alliance after the general elections of December 1993. He undertook the same post in the second DP-RTP coalition government, and became the Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister in the third DP-RTP coalition government.
Talat was elected as the leader of the RTP on January 14, 1996, succeeding Ozger Ozgur. After being elected to the TRNC parliament on 14 December, 2003, Talat formed another RTP-DP coalition government on January 13, 2004, at the behest of the then-TRNC President Rauf Denktaş, when the incumbent Prime minister Dervis Eroglu was unable to do so.
Winning a victory in the February 20, 2005 general elections, Talat formed the second RTP-DP coalition, serving as Prime Minister until his election as the second TRNC President on April 17, 2005, when he asked RTP Deputy Leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer to form a new government.
During the 2004 referendum on the Annan Plan to reunify Cyprus in advance of its entry to the European Union, Talat promoted a ‘Yes’ vote among Turkish Cypriots and the plan received overwhelming endorsement north of the Green Line. However, Tassos Papadopoulos, the President of Cyprus, opposed the plan and the Greek Cypriot community rejected it by a large majority. As a consequence, the plan was dropped, but the EU declared it would seek to implement trade concessions and other measures designed to alleviate the isolation of Northern Cyprus as a reward for the Turkish Cypriot referendum result. Talat remains publicly committed to reunification, although negotiations are not currently in progress on the issue.
President Talat is responsible for the reopening of the famous Church of Saint Mamas in Omorfo (Morphou), which houses the Tomb of the Saint. This is an important gesture because the practice of religion for both communities wherever they are on the island is significant freedom. The shrine hosts a Divine Liturgy on the saint’s day on the 4th September each year.
Talat is married with two children.