Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ergün Olgun is the new Turkish Cypriot negotiator


The TRNC President’s Office has announced that Ergün Olgun, the former undersecretary to President Denktaş, has replaced Kudret Özersay as Chief Negotiator. President Eroğlu had sacked Özersay following his decision to stand in next year’s TRNC Presidential Elections.

According to a statement from the TRNC President’s Office, Olgun had commenced in his new role on Friday morning. He joined the Presidential team for a meeting with Espen Barth Eide – the new UN Special Advisor to Cyprus.

Who is Ergün Olgun?

Ergün Olgun has extensive experience of the Cyprus Conflict and the negotiations process between the two sides. Previously, he was the Co-ordinator for the President Eroğlu’s Board of Advisors for the Negotiations, and between 1998 and 2005, he served as the undersecretary to President Denktaş and was one of the architects of the UN Annan Plan that was put to a referendum in 2004. After leaving the Presidency, Olgun became a regular media commentator on the talks and since 2008, a core member of the Beşparmaklar Group – a TRNC think tank.

Born in Lefkoşa on 18 December 1943, Olgun attended the prestigious English School in the Cypriot capital. He went on to study Business Administration at the Middle East Technical University – one of Turkey’s best higher education institutions. After graduating, he travelled to the US, where he completed his Masters in Business Administration from George Washington University in 1971. He then worked for a leading British corporation until 1976.

The outbreak of the Cyprus Conflict came during Olgun’s university years. In 1964, he – like many other Turkish Cypriots, including Naci Talat, Özker Özgür, Alpay Durduran, Erdil Nami, and Hüseyin Angolemli – came back to Cyprus and signed up as a volunteer freedom fighter during the bitter battle of Erenköy to help protect the besieged Turkish Cypriot villagers. Even though they were up against a significantly larger and better armed Greek Cypriot force, the Turkish Cypriot side won, although Olgun sustained serious injuries during the fighting.

Since moving back to North Cyprus, he has held various posts as a civil servant, served as a lecturer at Eastern Mediterranean University, run his own business and has been a patron of the arts. He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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