Erdogan Congratulates Pro-Turkey Winner in Northern Cyprus Presidential Election

Elias Hubbard
October 20, 2020

- Why did Tatar win? The north is economically and militarily dependent on Ankara. The center-left CTP party of third-place finisher Tufan Erhurman who garnered 21.68%. has thrown its support behind Akinci.

Mr Tatar and the outgoing president, Mr Akinci, represented very different visions of the island's future, she said.

Akinci may have CTP backing, but Tatar is courting a significant pool of voters - especially in rural areas - who may not have voted in the first round.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed the surprise victory of his favoured candidate.

Speaking alongside Erdogan earlier this month, Tatar said the TRNC was reopening public access to the fenced-off seaside ghost town of Varosha for the first time since Turkish forces invaded the north.

Turkey has also supplied northern Cyprus with a 100-bed hospital for coronavirus cases and fixed an undersea freshwater pipeline.

After the elections the new Turkish Cypriot president will have to decide on what to do next in regards to negotiations.

Last week, he claimed that pro-Turkish media were carrying out a "disinformation campaign" and that he had received threats urging him to withdraw.

While Turkish Cyprus is a parliamentary system and day to day power rests with the parliament and the prime minister, the future of the island and negotiations on the global stage are traditionally represented by the president.

Akinci, 72, was viewed as a champion of Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey's complete domination of their affairs and a backer of a federal deal with Greek Cypriots. Nine years later, Turkish Cypriots in the northern third declared independence, but are only recognized by Turkey, which maintains a strong military footprint there. The island's internationally recognised government has its seat in the Greek Cypriot south and is part of the 27-nation European Union.

The two sides are separated by a UN-patrolled buffer zone.

His hardline challenger Ersin Tatar, 60, advocates fully aligning Turkish Cypriots with Turkish policies, such as pursuing a two-state deal instead of a federation.

"You will no longer ignore the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people", Tatar said.

"Our neighbours in the south and world community should respect our fight for freedom", Tatar said.

A first test for the victor will be a meeting with Greek Cypriots and Cyprus "guarantors" - Greece, Turkey and Britain - that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to call soon.

"Anything is possible nowadays in this insane world", Hatay said, but added he did not see annexation imminently.

A hardliner who favors even closer ties with Turkey and a tougher stance with rival Greek Cypriots in peace talks has defeated the leftist incumbent in the Turkish Cypriot leadership runoff Sunday.

- What impact for the Eastern Med?

A negotiations reboot could help ease soaring tensions in waters off Greece and Cyprus over sea boundaries and energy exploration rights after Turkey redeployed a research vessel near the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

In a call with Tatar after his victory, Erdogan said their cooperation would continue - "starting with activities related to hydrocarbons".

"This process will not only be about solving Cyprus problem", Hatay said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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