Turkey remembers Northern Cyprus founding father

- Rauf Denktas, the founding president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, passed away on Jan. 13, 2012.

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's Foreign Ministry commemorated Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' founding father Rauf Denktas with a statement on Tuesday.

Jan. 13 marks the three-year anniversary of Rauf Denktas' death.

"The late Denktas devoted his entire life to the Turkish Cypriots’ struggle for a dignified existence, and defended with great sacrifices the cause of the Turkish Cypriot people for rights, equality and freedom in a common bond of sentiments and ideals with motherland Turkey," the statement said.

"Rauf Denktas exhibited an outstanding leadership in overcoming all challenges, and therefore occupies an exceptional place in history with his leadership and statesmanship qualities appreciated throughout the world."

The Turkish Cypriot people’s "righteous struggle" will lead to a just and lasting settlement in the Island and turn it into an area of peace, stability and prosperity in the region, the ministry added.

The Greek Cypriot administration suspended talks in October in retaliation for Turkey’s warship mission to monitor oil-and-gas exploration activity off the Cyprus coast.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974. 

Turkey and Greece are the guarantor countries for disputed Cyprus where both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are trying to find a way to settle their decades-long conflict.

Negotiations between the two sides resumed in 2013 after a two-year pause. Greek Cypriots suspended the talks last October in retaliation for a Turkish move to monitor the Greek Cypriot side's oil-and-gas exploration activity off the island's coast.

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