Thousands mourn veteran Turkish Cypriot leader
NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
AA PhotoThousands attended an official ceremony on Monday for Turkish Cypriot veteran leader Rauf Denktaş who died after a long illness.
Turkish Cypriots gathered early in the morning outside the hospital where the former leader died on Friday night at the age of 87, with his successor Mehmet Ali Talat and Turkish Cypriot premier among the crowd at the ceremony.
Denktash's coffin, wrapped in Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags, was later transferred from the hospital in northern Nicosia to the presidential palace where it will lie in state.
Turkey, the only country to recognise the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the divided island, is expected to send a large delegation headed by President Abdullah Gul for Tuesday's funeral.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu are among those expected to attend.
Denktaş suffered a blood clot to the brain last May that left him partially paralysed. In July, he received treatment at a military hospital in Ankara but his condition failed to improve.