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Cyprus: Farewell to a hero Denktas

In a ceremony Sunday during which his staff were barely able to hold back tears, the President of the Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic, Rauf Denktas, turned over his office to the newly elected President, Mehmet Ali Talat.

Turkey\'s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was also present at the ceremony, which was as much a formalized good-bye for Denktas, who has come to symbolize the Northern Cypriots and all their struggles, as it was a welcoming-in ceremony for Talat.

The newly elected Talat took his oath of office yesterday during a special meeting of members of the North Cypriot Parliament.

101 rounds of artillery fired after oath

Talat\'s term in office began officially after the special session of the Parliament, which was itself followed by the firing of 101 rounds of artillery into the air, and the display of flags at all official buildings. Accompanied by his wife, Talat arrived at the Presidential Palace in a long cortege, and following his greetings to the honor detachment, he met with the outgoing Denktas for some last words. Following on this, Denktas gave his farewell speech, after which Talat gave an address thanking Denktas for his years of service. After these speeches, Denktas bid the soldiers in the honor detachment farewell, and after some final words to Talat, left the Presidential Palace for good. The ceremony was in general an emotional one, and many of the people in attendance, who had worked long years at the Presidential Palace, were unable to hold back their tears.

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