Ersin Tatar, the right wing hardliner nationalist, has emerged as the presidential election winner in Northern Cyprus. The Mediterranean island is Turkey-controlled and has now got a pro-Turkey president. Mr. Tartar, who won the election with 51.74% votes, wants Cyprus as two separate states.
The opponent, 72 year old Mustafa Akinci, is in favor of reunification of the Mediterranean island with the southern Greek part of island, and had promised to do so if won for a second five-year term. Akinci, a moderate, is backed by Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s rampant intervention in the territory’s internal affairs. He won 48.26% of the votes. He said, “We went through an election contest that wasn’t normal.”
Akinci said, hinting towards meddling by Ankara in the election campaigning, “I congratulate Tatar and those who helped bring this result…I hope these interventions don’t happen again. These results mark the end of my 45-year political career. I wish good luck to our people.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President has congratulated Tatar for his win. However, the Cypriot government in Nicosia hasn’t commented yet, but the opposition leaders have expressed their disapproval over the election results.
Mr. Tatar said in his victory speech, “We are fighting to exist within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, therefore our neighbours in the south and the world community should respect our fight for freedom … because we deserve it.”
Erdogan took on to Twitter to congratulate his ally’s victory, “I congratulate Ersin Tatar who has been elected president… Turkey will continue to provide all types of efforts to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.”
Back in 1974, Cyprus underwent a division when Turkey invaded the northern region. The area was abandoned by Greek Cypriots and since then has been off-limits. After partition, the northern third is controlled by Turkish Cypriot government and the southern two-thirds is under governance by the internationally recognized government which is led by Greek Cypriots.
It is still considered a key issue of the peace talks which are aimed at reuniting the island. The election outcome is being considered as a victory for Ankara.
The ‘self-declared’ and recognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a territory with population of approximately 300,000, is recognized as an independent state only by Turkey – internationally it is seen as a part of Cyprus.