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Turkish Cypriots cancel annual military exercise

October 18, 2011

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NICOSIA, Cyprus—A senior Turkish Cypriot official says that annual military exercises have been called off to "improve the political atmosphere" amid ongoing talks to reunify the ethnically split island.

Osman Ertug, spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, said on Tuesday that the 'Toros' war games which are conducted jointly with Turkey have been canceled because the three-year-old peace talks are reaching "a critical stage".

Cyprus' Defense Ministry called off the Greek Cypriot 'Nikiforos' maneuvers on Monday, saying it expected the Turkish side to follow suit.

Cyprus was divided into an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

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