Erdogan’s candidate wins presidential election in Northern Cyprus

Nicosia, Oct 18 (efe-epa).- The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Ankara, has as of Sunday a new president in the shadows: Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The nearly 200,000 Turkish Cypriots called to vote in a territory occupied by Turkish troops since 1974 voted for Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, Erdogan’s voice in Northern Cyprus.

The nationalist politician, leader of right-wing National Unity Party (NUP), obtained 51.74 percent of the votes in the second round and thus ratified his victory in the first round, while the until now center-left president Mustafá Akinci, who came as an independent, met 48.26 percent.

After admitting defeat, Akinci announced his retirement from politics after 45 years.

Tatar thanked Erdogan for his support and announced that he will firmly defend Turkish Cypriot interests at the negotiating table on the future of the island, where, he said, the will of the Turkish Cypriot people to live with independence and dignity must be respected.

With their decision to support Tatar, the Turkish Cypriots have opted more cooperation with Ankara, which had openly supported this candidate.

Regarding the future of this divided island, Tatar advocates for the creation of a confederation between the two communities or a final separation with the creation of two states.

Akinci, on the contrary, was in favor of giving a new opportunity to the reunification of the island with a bicommunal, bizonal solution, with full political equality for both communities, a model that had been negotiated for decades and that Tatar had considered a failure.

“Erdogan’s will has materialized,” “The representative of Ankara is the new leader of the Turkish Cypriots.” With these slogans, some Greek Cypriot news websites made clear the fear that would now predictably be perceived even more starkly than before: the reunification of the island seems to be further away than ever.

The strong support received from Ankara was evident just days before the first round, when Tatar traveled to Turkey for the opening of the ghost beach of Varosha, in Famagusta, with Erdogan, a unilateral action that materialized immediately afterwards.

The opening of this beach, sealed for 46 years, unleashed national and international protests, as it violates a series of United Nations resolutions.

The UN, which promotes the peace process, announced before the elections its intention to resume negotiations, interrupted in the summer of 2017, after this electoral process.

The idea was to resume the negotiations where they had been left then, that is, with the idea of ??creating a federation and not a confederation.

However, some Turkish Cypriot journalists commented on social networks as soon as results were known, that the election of Tatar will complicate these negotiations.

As soon as the result was known, supporters of the nationalist leader filled the streets of the Turkish Cypriot part of divided Nicosia with Turkish flags till the headquarters of the NUP, of which the new president-elect is the leader.

Ankara’s first reaction came through a message from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Cavusoglu, who congratulated the winner and assured that Turkey and the TRNC will work together for the development and security of the Turkish Cypriots.

“We will protect the legitimate rights and interests of (…Northern Cyprus) in the eastern Mediterranean all together,” he said.

In recent months, Erdogan’s government has demanded to share with Greek Cypriots the energy resources that are assumed in waters surrounding the island, and has repeatedly sent scout ships to an area that Cyprus considers to be within its jurisdiction. Similar actions have been carried out in waters claimed by Greece.

The president of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiadis, has assured he is willing to share energy sources only once the Cypriot conflict has been resolved.

Voter participation reached 67.3 percent, five points above that of 2015, despite the adverse circumstances derived from the coronavirus crisis. EFE-EPA

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