Former Turkish Cypriot leader's condition critical - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Former Turkish Cypriot leader's condition critical

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- A hospital official says former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is in critical condition because of a weakened heart, putting him at risk of multiple organ failure.

Near East University Hospital doctor Finn Rasmussen told The Associated Press on Thursday that the 87-year-old is awake and talking, but that his blood circulation is poor.

Denktash was admitted to the hospital in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of divided Cyprus on Jan. 8 suffering from diarrhea and dehydration.

He has been a staunch advocate for a Turkish Cypriot state separate from majority Greek Cypriots.

The island was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. Denktash led the north -- which only Turkey recognizes -- as president from 1983 to 2005.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-01-12-12 1026CST

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