Rauf Denktash, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, has died at the age of 87, Cypriot state TV has reported.
Denktash headed the territory for more than 30 years since the Turkish invasion prompted by a Greek-inspired coup in 1974, until his retirement in 2005.
He died on Friday, six days after being admitted to hospital over deteriorating health.
In 1985, after the 1983 declaration of independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Denktash was elected president of the de facto state, which has only been recognized by Turkey. A staunch supporter of Turkish Cypriot independence, he was reelected in 1990, 1995 and 2000.
Peace talks for a negotiated settlement to reunite the island have yielded no results, being a permanent source of tensions between Greece and Turkey and a major obstacle to Turkey’s accession to the European Union.