Turkish Cypriots choose chief as stakes soar in Mediterranean

In this photo taken on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, Turkish Cypriot leader and candidate Mustafa Akinci casts his ballot at a polling station during the Turkish Cypriots election for a new leader in the Turkish occupied area in the north part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Turkish Cypriots vote on Sunday Oct. 18, 2020 in a leadership runoff that could decide if they want to retain more control over their own affairs or steer even closer to an increasingly domineering Turkey. (AP Photo/Nedim Enginsoy)

On this photograph taken on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, Turkish Cypriot chief and candidate Mustafa Akinci casts his poll at a polling station in the course of the Turkish Cypriots election for a brand new chief within the Turkish occupied space within the north a part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Turkish Cypriots vote on Sunday Oct. 18, 2020 in a management runoff that would resolve in the event that they wish to retain extra management over their very own affairs or steer even nearer to an more and more domineering Turkey. (AP Photograph/Nedim Enginsoy)


NICOSIA, Cyprus – Turkish Cypriots started voting Sunday in a management runoff to decide on between an incumbent who pledges a course much less sure by Turkey’s dictates and a challenger who favours even nearer ties to Ankara.

The stakes have soared as a battle over vitality rights within the jap Mediterranean has intensified over the past yr.

Veteran incumbent Mustafa Akinci, 72, is a champion of Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s full domination of their affairs. His hard-line challenger Ersin Tatar, 60, advocates totally aligning Turkish Cypriot with Turkish insurance policies.


The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus was cut up in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Solely Turkey acknowledges a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state within the north that’s economically and militarily depending on Ankara. The island’s internationally acknowledged authorities has its seat within the Greek Cypriot south and is a part of the 27-nation European Union.

The tussle between Turkish Cypriots who search to retain extra say in how they’re ruled and people who wish to stroll in lockstep with Turkey has been a outstanding characteristic in previous management races.

However this contest appears extra polarized than ever. Akinci has alleged that Turkey has engaged in “unprecedented” interference all through the marketing campaign in favour of Tatar and that he and his household obtained threats to drop out of the race.


Tatar edged out Akinci within the first spherical of voting by lower than three proportion factors. Akinci seems to have an edge after clinching assist from the third-place candidate. However analyst Tumay Tugyan says the competition might go both means as Tatar courted a big pool of voters from the roughly 200,000-strong citizens — particularly in rural areas — who might not have voted within the first spherical.

A primary take a look at for the winner shall be a gathering with Greek Cypriots and Cyprus’ ‘guarantors’ — Greece, Turkey and Britain — that U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres is anticipated to be referred to as quickly. The goal shall be to determine if there’s sufficient frequent floor to restart dormant peace talks.

Practically 5 a long time of U.N. facilitated makes an attempt at attaining reunification based mostly on a federal framework have failed.


Akinci believes that federation is the one means towards a peace accord. Tatar shares Ankara’s view that federation might not be probably the most viable choice and alternate options resembling a two-state deal must be pursued.