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Turkish Cypriots protest Turkish backed austerity steps

March 2, 2011 13:40

NICOSIA - Thousands of Turkish Cypriots marched on Wednesday against Ankara-inspired spending cuts as mounting dissent strained ties with Turkey and threatened to hit reunification talks with Greek Cypriots.

More than 25,000 protesters, angry about what they believe are efforts by Turkey to exert more control over the isolated statelet, gathered at Inonu Square inside ancient Venetian walls in the city's northern Turkish section in what is believed to be one of the largest demonstrations ever in North Cyprus.

Many waved banners reading, "This is our country, let's run it ourselves" and "Take your hands off Turkish Cypriots."

They said an economic austerity package blamed on Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan erodes their ability to govern themselves effectively.

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